5 Best Practices for a Successful Annual Appeal

Nonprofit organizations of all types create annual appeals, often around the holiday season, to bring in some much-needed funds for their organization. The holidays are the season of giving, and people often use this time of year to donate to charitable organizations in need.

This means now is the time for your alumni association to focus on completing the planning for your annual appeal so it is ready to launch by the time the holidays kick off. Here are five tips for you to keep in mind that will help you maximize the success of this year’s appeal.

  • Add some interest to your campaign: You’ll find you’ll have much more success with your campaign if you give it a theme and add some creative elements to make it interesting and appealing. That theme can influence everything from the messaging and language you use to the design of your envelopes and landing pages. Having a simple, unifying theme makes it easier to market your campaign, and gives one message for potential donors to focus on.
  • Clearly explain why you need the funds: Potential donors need a reason to give to your organization. For alumni associations, it is important to go into detail about the kinds of work you do, including arranging alumni events, supporting educational initiatives within the school district and recognizing notable alumni for their achievements.
  • Tell them where their money will go: It can be beneficial to have a specific project or initiative for which you’re raising money, as it gives the potential donors something tangible to latch on to. Otherwise, you can go a more general route, tell your donors all funds will be put toward the various initiatives you support, and give some specific examples.
  • Connect with people who have given in the past: Past donors should be a top priority in your campaign, because they are the most likely people to give to any campaign. Customize your letters to past donors to thank them again for their past support, tell them how the support they provided helped your organization, and inform them of the new needs you have and how they can help.
  • Make it easy to donate: You should make it as easy as possible for people to donate to your campaign. Set up a secure online portal for people to donate with credit card or PayPal. If you will be accepting physical checks, send them a pre-addressed, pre-stamped envelope for them to put in a check and send back to you.

For more information about how you can find success with your alumni association’s annual appeal this year, contact us at Alumni Nations.

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