Rationale for Annual Fund Solicitation
Most organizations send an annual fundraising solicitation in the Fall. This is timed to coincide with the end of the year for charitable donation deductions for tax purposes as well as the increased inclination for some donors to give in conjunction with certain holidays that occur during this time period. Many donors rely on this end-of-year solicitation as a reminder to give to a particular charity and will not seek out a way to give on their own.
Some organizations also make solicitations in the spring for a specific project.
General Annual Fund Solicitation Strategy
While most organizations seek unrestricted donations that can be put to operating expenses and overhead, many donors prefer to give to a specific project. Thus the creation of a named “Annual Fund” that can be directed to certain projects with a portion reserved for overhead. Funding drives that demonstrate a direct link between a donor’s gift and a concrete, measurable result are most successful. Donors also are more likely to give if they can develop an emotional connection with the project.
Strategy for an End-of-Year Solicitation
Decide on a project/reason for a donor to make a donation. Possible options:
- General information on what your organization does- profile of Board, Executive Director, or mission and call for a donation in order to continue good work
- Give directly to existing project that is successful
- Profile of a donor/volunteer/member
Decide on method of solicitation. Possible options:
- Physical mailing
- Use a fulfillment house to manage the mailing
- October 1-15 2016: Decide on project/solicitation strategy and write letter/content
- October 16-31 2016: Create materials and ready mailing lists
- November 1-15 2016: Put package together and mail out
- November 16-30 2016: ED calls top donors from previous years for a chat and to check that they received mailing
- December 1-14 2016: Follow-up with donors who gave last year if this year’s gift has not been received
What if we want to end our physical end-of-year mail-out or skip a year?
You may feel that your end-of-year mailing is not worth the time/staff effort it takes to produce. It may not be! But check the data first to ensure that there aren’t any gifts that your organization usually receives based on this mail-out. A donor may be counting on getting that piece of mail from your organization as a reminder to donate before the year’s end.