Now that Thanksgiving is (hopefully) a happy memory and all the leftovers have been gobbled up, you may have just realized that it’s December 1st … and the end of the year is approaching fast.

Do you have a plan in place to boost your year-end fundraising? If so, well done. … If you don’t, here are a few key things you can do before 2011 closes.

1.  Maximize your valuable airtime:  Produce a few spots to air in between your Christmas songs and add scripts for your jocks to use on their breaks. Thank your listeners sincerely for their support and remind them of the valuable part that they play in ministering to others who need you.

“WXYZ is grateful for your partnership…”

“Thank you for listening and making WXYZ part of your year-end giving…”

“As we remember the blessings of this past year, we’re especially thankful for you…”

2.  Use your website efficiently:  Update your site with thank you messages and provide visitors with a simple and easy to find the donation page. (Remember that there are some donors who wait all year long to finally make a contribution to a charitable organization for tax deductible purposes. Make it simple and easy for them.)

If you are sincere and can make good on it, ask any visitor to your site to submit a praise or prayer request. This is great ministry and it gives you a way to acquire new donor names or potential new donors for almost no investment on your part.

NOTE: Ask for basic contact information as part of the praise or prayer request submission, but don’t require it. Some listeners will want to remain anonymous.

3.  Email can be your friend: If you use email to communicate with your listeners, schedule and send a series of messages leading up to a final week “ask” for their special year-end gift. Short, simple and to-the-point messages will be most effective. You have approximately 3 seconds to get someone to read your subject line, 5 seconds for them to grasp your appeal and 7 seconds for them to respond. Make every moment count…

           State simply who you are, what you do for them, why you are asking  and how they can help.

4.  Use social media to invite your “friends”:  Use Twitter, updates on your Facebook page, and staff posts on their personal FB pages to remind friends that a special year-end gift will help them minister to others today and in the coming year.

Make it personal and simple for your visitors.

5.  Donors have voicemail boxes, too:  If you have staff and time, divide up your donor list and have everybody make phone calls to your donors. Convey a very simple message using a script to guide the call. Use this opportunity to thank the donor and remind them that they can give a special year-end gift online or by replying to the mailing that you’ve already sent.

Using the messaging of your on-air appeal or jock appeals, craft a simple thank you message with a request for a  year-end gift.  If you don’t reach the person, leave a voicemail just to say thanks and provide a call back number if you have one.

6.  Direct Mail is still king of year-end funding: Mail your appeal letters by December 10th (if you haven’t already). If your budget is tight, limited your recipients. For example: You could mail only to those who have given in the past 18 months and are active in your donor management system. And remember to broadly and sincerely say, “thank you.”

Use hand-written thank you notes as part of the mailing to personalize it as much as possible.

Regardless of the number of these efforts you make before year’s end, be genuine and consistent with your messaging. Repeating the same things over and over may seem boring to you, but your listeners and your donors may need to hear the same thing in 5 or more different ways to understand what you’re asking them to do. And as always, say “thank you”.

If you’d like ramp-up your fundraising efforts in the new year and need help, please contact us anytime to learn more about our consulting services.