3 Techniques Retailers Can Teach Non-Profits About End-of Year Fundraising


Let’s get something straight from the beginning. Running a nonprofit is no small feat. Due to the business structure of nonprofits, their leaders have many tricky nuisances to navigate. Keeping the nonprofit in compliance with government rules and regulations is not for the faint of heart. The list of things to do while operating a tax-exempt entity can be overwhelming. However, fundraising is a constant in the midst of keeping your organization’s mission front and center.

Every day is an opportunity for nonprofits to raise money, get donations, and secure gifts. Why is end-of-year fundraising so special? Many people associate end-of-year appeals with the holiday season. Here’s where the connection to retailers comes in. They have mastered the art of marketing and their goals are clear: sell products and services that will make them profitable.

Three lessons from retailers that you can include in your non-profit fundraising efforts are:

1. Use More Visuals
If you need examples of how retailers use visuals, look at TV commercials, email newsletters, Internet ads, websites, catalogs, circulars, flyers, and other marketing materials. They all have something in common, lots of pictures, videos, artwork, charts and other images. What kind of visuals your organization uses will depend on its mission, the type of services your nonprofit provides, and other unique details.

2. Connect With Stories
This time of year, retailers find certain stories appealing for their advertising: ideas of family and friends gathering, children playing, holiday festivities, nature settings, and food displays that make your mouth water. Shed some light on what’s new with your nonprofit. Tell donors about a new service your organization provides and how the service has helped a client or recipient in some life-changing way. Show how donor funds assist in your organization’s ability to help the community (e.g., books to kids, food kitchen hours increased, housing for the homeless, additional computers).

3. Make Marketing a Priority
How is a nonprofit to run a successful end-of-the year fundraising appeal when other organizations are doing the same? Remember these words: Market Once, Market Twice, and Market Again. Send out marketing material to your donors and supporters that they can relate to and connect with on an emotional level. Your nonprofit needs to stand out and set its mission apart from all the rest.

Drumming up gifts by December 31st is challenging. However, many people want to give back and they like feeling charitable. Additionally, some donors appreciate the tax deductibility of their gifts. Thus, now is the time to take a look at what retailers are doing: use more visuals, connect with stories, and make marketing a priority for a successful end-of-year fundraising appeal.

This article was originally published on December 18, 2016, on www.abettslawblog.com.
Aquanetta Betts

Aquanetta J. Betts is an attorney, speaker and blogger. As an attorney licensed in DC and MD, she devotes most of her practice to business law, estate planning, charitable giving and probate. Prior to becoming a lawyer, she spent 15 years as a flight attendant for American Airlines. She earned her law degree from Nova Southeastern University School of Law in Davie, Florida, and her Bachelor’s degree from Florida International University in Miami, Florida.

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