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I’m deliberately posting this earlier in the year. So you have TIME to think on these things before your tax appeal.

And it’s deliberately called a planning list. Not a checklist.

Because I’m urging you take time to plan… not to just whiz through and tick the items off.

These may sound basic to some of you who have been in fundraising for years. But I notice many non-profits, even the big ones with extensive direct mail programs, still don’t get all nine of these items right.

Why? Because they can be deceptively difficult to do well.

Your helpful 9-point tax appeal planning list

1. Does your tax appeal have urgency?

If donors can’t see why they must DONATE NOW… it’s not urgent enough. And you can’t just say “Your gift is urgently needed…” You must explain why.

What will happen if they don’t DONATE NOW?

2. Does your tax appeal have a simple offer? Something that donors can’t say “no” to?

Donors understand concrete, tangible things like food for hungry children and cures for loving grandmas stricken with cancer. Not abstract and intangible things like community support groups and hope.

3. Does your tax appeal have the right story?

Are you featuring a beneficiary who will speak to the hearts, values and identity of your donors? Someone who is blameless and in genuine and obvious need?

4. Does your tax appeal lodgement date allow extra time for those pesky Australia Post timeframes?

You’re not the only charity mailing their supporters with a tax appeal – it’s one of the most popular times of year to fundraise! You want to make sure that your appeal is the first to land in your donors’ letterboxes… so don’t forget to factor in Australia Post delivery time.

One client of mine had once had their mail delayed by over a week during the tax season.

“It was only supposed to be three days not 10!”

And remember… it’s a busy time not just for Australia Post, but for mailhouses and your other providers too! So make sure you plan a bit of buffer into your timeline, just to be on the safe side.

5. Is direct mail the only weapon in your tax appeal arsenal? Or have you planned a full tax time campaign?

Direct mail is great for many charities, but it’s not the only way of raising funds.

Think multi-channel, segment strategies and other ways of getting your appeal in front of donor eyes and ears. This leads us to…

6. Will your tax appeal digital campaign be properly planned in its own right?

Will you put as much effort into planning, writing, designing and coding your EDMs as you do in planning, writing, designing and sending out your direct mail? Will you put budget into targeted ads on social media or Google banners? Will you SMS your current donors as the tax deadline approaches?

And don’t make the mistake of going all in on digital at the expense of investing in direct mail. It must be both.

7. Does your tax appeal make it easy for donors to give online?

Long gone are the days where you could use the excuse that older donors don’t give online. In fact, since COVID, older donors are far more digitally literate than ever!

8. Will you actually track ALL your tax appeal results?

Most organisations are pretty good at tracking direct mail… but woeful at tracking online donations. Did those gifts come from email clicks, search engine marketing, a Facebook post or somewhere else? How will you know where it’s best to spend your investment if you don’t know what channel is giving you results?

9. Does your tax appeal have a plan for higher level givers?

This is the time of year when major donors open their wallets and their hearts. They want to give to causes they love and work which is proven to have high impact.

What are you doing to appeal to their hearts – and show them just how much their gift can do?

The secret to planning a successful tax appeal

Before I go, there’s one final thing…

Try to start early.

I once got a phone call from one of my wonderful clients at the start of the calendar year. What she said was music to my ears:

“We’re thinking we should get started on talking about the tax appeal…
Last year, there were some things we talked about doing that we didn’t have time for.”

It was barely the end of January. I was stoked.

The previous year, this client got a 13% improvement in their tax appeal results and broke through an income milestone they’d been struggling to reach for the previous two years.

That was when we only managed to get points 1-4 right… we had to let the others go due to lack of time and resources.

Imagine what you can do when you have TIME!!

Starting early may seem simple. But every year I get at least one phone call in early to mid-June (JUNE!!). It comes from a poor (literally) non-profit asking whether I can assist with their tax appeal.

That’s just too late.

I’m here to help you with your tax appeal if you need it. Use Calendly to book a meeting at a time that suits you and we can get the jump on the planning… together!

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