End-of-year fundraising may be over, but that only sets up some key messaging for January.  In this episode, I’ll give you three key messages to send donors in January (plus a bonus).

After the big year-end fundraising campaign, it’s tempting to let out a big sigh of relief and sit back for a bit. But you’ve built momentum over the last few months, and you don’t want to drop it now. Send these messages to donors in January to keep them engaged in the new year.

Use giving statements to build relationships.

There is one obvious piece of mail you need to get out to donors this month–that’s the giving statement. You need to send these out for anyone who gave $250 or more. But don’t just send out a dry financial statement with a boring letter that says, “Here’s your statement.” 

That is a missed opportunity.

That giving statement is a cause for celebration! Send a letter with the statement that essentially says, “Look at what you did last year!” Remind those donors of the impact their gifts had. The accomplishments, the souls reached, the lives saved, whatever your mission is, let your donors know their donations are STILL being celebrated, and there is more work to do. You’re excited they’re with you, because xy and z still need to be done. 

Celebrate everyone.

Thank everyone who donated to your nonprofit in the past year (not just in December – and not just those who gave more than $250). But don’t stop at monetary gifts.

Remember to thank the people who donated their time and energy. Volunteers give you their TIME. Don’t ever forget that we can make more money, but we cannot make more time. Volunteers are giving you something they can never get back. Their time is a precious gift.

Sometimes fundraisers tell me it feels strange to thank people who haven’t made a donation. Thank them anyway. You have people praying for you who never tell you they’re doing it. You have people who tell their friends, who mention you and who share your social media posts. You never know. Thank everyone for being with you and sharing your mission. It never hurts to show a spirit of gratitude.

Make an extra effort to welcome new donors.

During year-end fundraising, you’ve picked up new donors and you only have a tiny window to invite them into a deeper relationship. From Thanksgiving to year’s end, between 70% and 75% of one-time donations are from brand new donors.

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Brand new donors don’t know you well.

Brand new donors can quickly forget you and move on to the next thing.

Brand new donors, if you haven’t thanked them properly, may feel unappreciated or even duped. These will likely leave and not come back.

More than 80% of new donors will never give again.

Is that because new donors are just flighty and fickle, or do new donors (everybody, really) need to be nurtured and cared for and loved so that they want to be more involved?

Give your new donors some extra love. Thank them for that gift–again! And send them a welcome packet and an email welcome series that tells them more about your vision and how they can be involved. The goal is to build relationship and nudge them toward a second gift.

Prepare them for what’s to come.

Your thank you message should include something about what they can expect from your organization in the months ahead, and remind them how their support makes this possible. Add a personal touch by pointing out initiatives you know that donor is likely to be interested in joining.

If someone donated to your Spring fundraising campaign, send them a thank you message along with a reminder that you’re running a similar campaign again this year. If they like to give to matching campaigns, let them know when your next matching campaign is.

You can combine these messages in any way it makes sense for you and your mission. Just remember every message helps keep you and your mission top of mind.

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