Annual Appeals Part III: Trends in Giving

October 7, 2015

Guest Blog by Rebecca Teaff, Owner & Chief Creative Officer, Redstart Creative, Associate Member of Maryland Nonprofits


Join Rebecca and Jenn Pak, of Redstart Creative, for the pre-conference session Focus on Marketing, Thursday, November 12th at the Alice Ferguson Foundation in Accokeek , Maryland.This fast-paced and interactive session will cover graphic design, branding and logos, and social media, website, and email tools to boost your communications.
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Church of the Nativity launched a Capital Campaign for a new building. They created a 4×9 foldover commitment card to hand out and mail to parishioners to solicit donations. The commitment card included brief information on the campaign that was part of the larger brochure as well as information about the financial commitment.

Read the original blog here.
In case you missed it, read Part I, Annual Appeals: Tips and Trends and Part II, Lists and Envelopes. 


We are continuing on with our look at Annual Appeals. Last time, we discussed mailing lists and envelope design. Today, we will look at new trends in giving. The typical form of giving is to a general fund or a specific project. Today, there are other ways to collect donations and reenergize your donor relationships.

One idea is to institute a subscription program for your donors. A subscription program helps keep your donors engaged throughout the year. Instead of asking them for a donation to a more nebulous general fund, you can select regular programmatic expenditures that their monthly donation covers. This blog has a good example of a visual way you can demonstrate the recurring impact of a monthly gift.

If you’re looking for some ideas for how to start this type of giving program, this article from the NonProfit Times has good tips for getting started.

Another form of giving we’re seeing a lot about is crowdfunding. This is gathering small amounts of dollars from a large group of donors for a specific project. This type of funding is typically internet based. It can be incorporated into a traditional mailing as well by directing your donors to the website where they can donate. As this webinar from Marts&Lundy shows, there are some great examples of crowdfunding out there. One example they show, 100Cameras, is anchored by a strong video that clearly demonstrates their project and shows their impact.

This blog from Idealware gives an overview of how to set up a crowdfunding campaign. It reviews the different forms this type of program can take and the basics of getting it on the road. If you’re looking for some software to help get your campaign underway, this blog has a rundown of various types of available software divided by type of organization.

As was discussed in our last blog, it is important to consider the preferred giving habits of your donors when considering using one of these alternate donation formats. Would a new way of collecting donations appeal to a segment of your supporters? Perhaps your donors are more inclined to give many small donations or like the social element of giving as part of a crowdfunded campaign. Think over these considerations and your capacity to maintain the relationships with your donors using these methods.

In our final blog on the annual appeal, we will be looking at the acknowledgement and gratitude process. We will also explore how this process can be a springboard for year-long engagement with your donors.


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