Surfers live for the “bomb set.”
This is the series of the largest, most rideable waves that come along only every so often. The surfers in the lineup wait for the bomb set to arrive and then frenziedly work to position themselves for the best rides of the day.
In the annual giving world, we can now see the bomb set coming. In the U.S. this year, the bomb set for annual giving will officially start on Friday, November 25 and will end on Saturday, December 31. This is the “Season of Giving.”
With the cultural and religious gift giving impetus that occurs during these weeks, along with December 31st marking the end of the tax year, potential donors have a variety of significant and cooperating motives to give. For these 36 days, the largest, most rideable annual giving waves will be rolling in for development folks to surf.
Here are 3 ideas to help you get ready to catch the annual giving bomb set, have a great ride, and a strong finish to the calendar year end:
- Be early: Don’t come late to the surfer’s lineup! December 15 is too late to drop your direct mail appeal. You will have already missed some of the best waves and your invitation to give will get buried and forgotten in a stack of other late arrivers. If you want to make the most of the bomb set, make sure your direct mail is landing in mailboxes between Monday, November 28 (the Monday after the U.S. Thanksgiving) and Friday, December 9.
- Be multiple: Speaking of direct mail, this is the time of year to use it for as many of your constituents as you can afford. Direct mail is not dead and you should strongly consider inviting your entire donor base to give via direct mail at least once per year. In addition, though, your annual giving bomb set plan should include how you are going to weave email, social media, face-to-face, and phone in with your direct mail invitations. For instance, your plan might include following-up your direct mail invitation with phone calls to your top annual giving donors who haven’t given yet in 2022, coordinating with major gifts officers to ensure that every assigned prospect in their portfolios has been personally invited to make a gift this year, implementing a “L.G.S.” (like, give, and share) social media campaign during the middle of December, and then, sending 2 to 3 concise reminder email invitations to give toward the close of the calendar year.
- Be amplified: Taking full advantage of each year’s annual giving bomb set means that you consider ways to amplify your message. Including a match or a challenge for donors to give before December 31 is an effective strategy. And, the amount of the match or challenge does not matter as much as simply announcing that there is a match. So, worry less about securing a large match amount and work toward having a matching opportunity for donors to respond to, regardless of the amount. Additionally, you can amplify your results by specifically inviting donors who have already given during the current year to make an additional gift during the bomb set so that their total giving during the year qualifies them as one of your annual leadership-level donors.
We can’t make or even impact the larger cultural and religious waves that are about to roll-in for annual giving. All we can do is view them as an opportunity to surf as best we can.
If you plan to be early, be multiple, and be amplified, more donors will respond and more giving will result.
And, also, you won’t look like a “Barney.”