It’s January. It doesn’t matter the year because the cycle is the same. Maybe your fiscal year hasn’t ended, but you’ve finished the race to the end in December for fundraising. Maybe you lost a few pounds last month because you didn’t find time to eat while you were hustling up donations. Or maybe you actually gained a few pounds because instead of taking time to eat healthy, you crammed whatever was closest to you into your mouth just to survive (oftentimes chocolate Christmas candy). Either way, you’re ready to exhale a little bit. Well, you can’t.
But wait a minute, you mean to tell me there’s no break for fundraisers? Nope, it’s time to get back on the horse for another lap around the track. It’s January, do you know where your digital fundraising is? Sadly, I can tell you where it might be:
1) You still have banners on your website about your holiday or year-end giving campaigns
2) Your social media still has a cover image promoting your holiday or year-end campaigns
3) Your email subscribers haven’t heard from you since December 31
4) Your social media audience hasn’t heard from you since December 31
For many nonprofits, you’ve fallen radio silent since the emails you last sent in December. Don’t fret, the reason I’m posting this article is because enough of you have done it that I’ve recognized you need a little help. In other words, you’re not alone. I’ve put together the following short list of 6 things your nonprofit should do each January to level-set for the new calendar year:
1. Website Banners
Raise your hand if you still have banners on your website from Holiday and/or Year-End campaigns. Alright, now let’s do something about that. Today, take those banners down today and replace them with website banners that contain more relevant messaging. This may be a generic, brand-centric, or your next campaign-related banner.
2. Website Lightboxes
If your website still has Holiday/Year-End lightboxes (aka pop-ups, interstitials, etc), then it’s time to take those down too. You can either replace them with an email acquisition lightbox, January campaign-related lightbox, or just remove it altogether for the time being.
3. Social Media Images
You’ll start to see a common theme emerge with 1–3 here. If your Facebook or any other social media site is using Holiday/Year-End campaign profile or cover images, then….you guessed it. Time to take those down too. What do you replace them with? See #1 from above. You got this, I believe in you!
You likely sent several emails to your donors in December attempting to generate those last-minute donations before they turned to pumpkins at midnight on the 31st. For many of you, that was the last time you communicated with your donors or email subscribers. Take some time this month to re-connect with them. Instead of asking for more money with a fundraising email, try a simple affirmation email. Acknowledge them for helping you finish the year on a high note. If you had a goal that you asked them to help you meet, provide an update on that goal. If you didn’t necessarily have a goal, then provide a tangible impact they were able to help make possible.
Review analytics from your website (Google Analytics), digital media ads (Google Ads, Bing Ads, Facebook Ads, etc), and email. Put together a list of insights from these analytics, and maybe even create an executive dashboard with high-level metrics like conversions, revenue, average gift, and a few others that are important to your organization. What did you learn?
Why This Is Important
This list of items is important for a couple of different reasons. First, you want to make sure that you acknowledge your donors not only in a timely fashion, but also in a way that makes them feel like they matter to your organization. If they gave you a gift after all your campaigning in December, yet you fail to thank them, then you may risk losing that donor. Everybody wants to feel appreciated.
The second reason this list is important is because having your website and social media up to date strengthens the credibility of your brand. You don’t want to do anything to distract or take away value from your brand. If a donor comes to your site on January 15 and you still have Christmas banners on your site, then that can produce a negative experience. Be on top of your game. Look at sites like Apple, Amazon, Coca-Cola. These sites have moved on from the holidays and on to the next campaign. It’s expected, so meet your donors’ expectations.
Your turn: What other tips do you have aside from these 6 that digital fundraisers should do each January?