What do you do when your Christmas appeal fails to reach target?
This Christmas saw competition for the charitable dollar reach an all-time high as the marketplace was flooded with direct mail appeals. It is therefore not surprising that we are starting to hear from organisations who are concerned about the shortfall in their Christmas appeal income and what it might mean for their direct mail programs in 2014.
So today, we offer our expert advice on what to do when you Christmas appeal falls short…
Better Late Than Never
Christmas having been and gone doesn’t
necessarily mean people won’t still support your appeal. There may be people who forgot to give in the pre-Christmas rush or were unsure if they had the money to spare while there was still Christmas shopping to be done. Doing a follow-up mailing to your supporters (particularly those who have previously donated at Christmas) can be an effective way to target such people and boost your donations. Don’t be afraid to let people know that you have not yet achieved your fundraising goal and what it will mean if you can’t raise all of the money you need.
Ask For Feedback
Asking recipients of your appeal for feedback will not only help you solicit additional donations, it will also give you valuable information about why people did not support. While a short phone survey is preferable and will give you the best response, an email survey (with a link for online donations) can also be effective. Ask recipients if they recall receiving your appeal, how many other appeals they received, how they make their decision about which causes to support and if they would consider supporting your organisation in the future.
Rethink Your Measurements of Success
Before despairing about your failure to make budget for your appeal, you need ask yourself how realistic your target was in the first place. Too often I see organisations set targets based on what they need to raise, rather than what is achievable given the size and giving capacity of their database. If your target was unachievable, you need to communicate this to your board or senior management while being armed with information about what the appeal did achieve. Income is just one measurement of success, you may also wish to look at markers such as the number of new donors acquired, increases in the average donation, a rise in the number of donors supporting the appeal or the reactivation of lapsed donors.
If you are ready to cut your losses and move on, make sure you come back next week to read about maximising the success of your mid-year appeal.
In the meantime, if you would like to speak to one of our Account Executives,
please contact us on 1300 721 199 or send an email.