With Christmas appeals in the works, here’s my list to push up the dollars you raise.
1. Your core messaging does NOT include “changing lives” or “transforming lives”. This is a pet hate of mine. See why here. I see it so frequently that I’ve made it No. 1. (Although I will concede the very, very occasional only use of these phrases for brevity.)
2. Send donors more than one communication. I always recommend more than one Christmas direct mail appeal pack. One DM appeal plus a reminder. A DM appeal and a Christmas catalogue. A DM appeal and an email (or even several emails). A DM appeal and a newsletter featuring the appeal. Or a combination of the above. I know some charities even do three Christmas DM communications.
Why? Because otherwise you will get lost in all the other Christmas messages out there. It’s not just charities. At Christmas, you’re also competing with every other retailer at your local shopping centre. And online!
3. Make your dollar handles mean something tangible. $35 to buy a Christmas gift for a needy child is great. $35 to give hope at Christmas is too fuzzy, too generic and is used by too many other charities. (Like “changing lives”.)
4. Try to give the donor something extra. I’m ambivalent about premiums. But this is a time of year when it’s actually nice to give the donor some Christmas cheer. Especially if you’re using a “doom and gloom” story with a “not everyone has a great Christmas” angle.
5. Keep Christmas catalogues simple and clear. Design here is really, really important. Some charities using catalogues would do well to take a look at a Target or Kmart catalogue. Yes really.
See how the photos of items are well-lit, clear and pop out on the page. They’re organised according to how the user would search – not how the seller has them grouped in their computer system or organisational divisions. Fonts are chosen for clarity – not because they look cool.
6. Acknowledge the pressure on your donors. Everyone wants a piece of them at Christmas. Phrases such as “I know budgets are tight at Christmas” or “if you could spare a little extra amidst your Christmas shopping” shows you care about your donors as more than just fundraising ATMs.