Top Tips for a Successful 2016 Tax Appeal
29 March 2016 at 9:18 pm
If you haven’t begun preparing for your charity’s end of financial year appeal, don’t waste any more time, writes fundraising consultant Lauren Vertigan who delivers her top five tips for improving your return on investment.
In coming months, many households will be inundated with end of financial year appeals from their favourite charities, their former educational institutions, their children’s schools and, sometimes, organisations they are hardly familiar with.
If your organisation is part of this mix, what steps are you taking this year to improve the return on investment of your appeal and position it for greater success?
Most annual appeals begin with modest returns and improve over time. They are a long-term investment, used extensively as part of fundraising programs looking to generate support on an annual basis from supporters.
It’s important to set expectations within your organisation about potential results and to remember that successful direct mail programs have many benefits beyond short-term financial return – they help build a culture of private support, encourage regular gifts, identify potential major donor and bequest prospects, and, in time, generate a reliable source of gifts each year.
A key goal of these programs is a high renewal rate, as repeat donations tend to prepare donors for further engagement in higher-value philanthropic programs.
If you haven’t begun preparing for your end of financial year appeal, don’t waste any more time.
We recommend these appeals are distributed by early May with reminders scheduled through multiple mediums in the lead up to 30 June.
In addition to the appeal content, there is much more that you need to prepare for – ensure your data is ready (focus your appeal on those with a higher affinity to your organisation), print-house organised, and your social media is coordinated for reminders.
Additionally, here are my top five tips for improving the return on investment of your appeal and ensuring its success:
1. Ensure it is personalised and talks to the reader one-on-one.
2. Ask people to give specific amounts and ask former appeal donors to give a specific amount that is higher than last year.
3. Improve the feedback you give on the use of previous donations.
4. Arrange the appeal to be written from someone with greater impact (e.g. written by a scholarship recipient, patient, doctor)
5. Follow up previous donors to maintain high retention rate by integrating phone calls with the appeal.
Remember that direct mail is one of the most easily-measured fundraising activities – you can measure the exact cost of every response. The data collection and analysis on mail campaigns can deepen your understanding of your supporters.
What you learn can provide return-on-investment information that will help refine your next appeal. Each mailing can be more effective than the last, raising more money and growing the loyalty of your supporters.
About the author: Lauren Vertigan, is a fundraising consultant at AskRIGHT. Over the past decade, Vertigan has helped numerous national, state and local organisations in Australia and overseas to achieve their fundraising objectives.Prior to joining AskRIGHT in 2010, she worked on a number of significant fundraising campaigns and appeals and raised substantial funding from trusts and foundations for organisations including the Australian Red Cross and Autism Queensland. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org