Kari McCann Boutell, President
Iowa Council of Foundations
As we transition into the final two months of the year, many of you are working on your year-end giving communications. Many community foundations have fine-tuned their processes over the years, but some of you may be considering this outreach for the first time – or have not found the right strategy to connect with your donors, just yet! Below are some considerations as you put your plans and communications tools together for year-end.
#1 Share stories of your success from the year.
Annual reports are the most common place for organization’s to reflect on the previous year and share highlights from their work. However, don’t forget to share your success in your year-end communications. Demonstrating your impact through donor stories, grant highlights or an overview of your community leadership work might help spark ideas for donors on ways they want to contirbute to or through your community foundation.
#2 Connect donors to funds that already exist.
Your family of funds include agency funds, designated funds and field of interst funds that donors can contribute to. Many community foundations also launch leadership or initiative funds to leverage funds for their key priorities. Instead of making a general ask at the end of the year, use your family of funds to demonstrate the variety of ways donors can contribute to existing funds to support existing work. This may be eaiser for some donors to connect with as compared to developing a new idea on their own.
#3 Think bigger than year-end mailers.
Traditionally, year-end appeals have been sent via snail mail. In recent years, organizations have embraced a variety of communications channels to help tell their story and make “the ask”. Videos, social media, e-communications and blogs can be used to connect with donors without an envelope. These approaches can help your organization stand out from others. You may also consider sending your appeals at another time of year. For example, an appeal at the beginning of the year to encourage endowment gifts that are Endow Iowa eligible might be a way to differentiate yourself from other giving avenues.
Wishing you great success with your year end outreach and strategies!