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Transformational Fundraising During the Holiday Season

What is transformational fundraising? It centers around the idea of moving away from transactional giving toward transformational philanthropy. Think of transactional giving as you would an ATM: transaction without personal interaction. On the other hand, transformational giving recognizes the relationship between the donor and the organization they give through. It identifies the specific goals of contributors, cultivates and partners with them to achieve their charitable ambitions.

Transformational fundraising not only increases your overall ROI, but also helps you achieve maximum return on your time, resources and energy. Here are a few simple strategies we recommend implementing this holiday season to boost your results.

Focus on Your Current and Active Donors
It’s easy to get caught up in holiday acquisition efforts, but don’t forget to take care of your current and active donors — particularly those who have given $100 or more as their first gift. Our research has shown that this group is the most likely to make additional gifts and upgrade their giving levels, providing the best lifetime value of all donor groups. They require additional attention to build lasting relationships that will provide the best long-term benefit. Make sure they continue to have personal interactions and experiences with your organization.

  1. Identify Key Message Points
    1. You know your communities the best. Ask yourself this question: what services do you offer that best meet the collective needs that everyone can rally behind? Chose those and develop three to five key message points that can be utilized across all channels of your holiday communications. These messages should be reiterated again and again, in the press, when a donor calls, on your social media accounts and in your email and direct mail communications. Additionally, think about what’s most important in your community and decide how you can integrate it into the national Hope Marches on messaging to ensure maximum media impact.
  2. Make a Big Impact With Little Resources
    1. You don’t have to break the bank on marketing to promote your message. The best way to gain media attention is to promote what is unique about you in your community. Pitch your events to the news media and utilize press release templates to help you get your message out. Find fun ways to incorporate this message into your social media channels. And most of all, don’t forget about your website. It’s the first place people go when they want to learn more about your organization.
  3. Keep Things Simple
    1. Creating a transformational experience for your donors doesn’t have to be overly complex. Drawing on their human desire for acknowledgment, affirmation, appreciation and aspiration, you can achieve success with simple touchpoints. For example:
      1. Make two Hug Your Hundred donor phone calls per day between Halloween and Thanksgiving
      2. By December 1st, ensure personal Christmas cards are sent to all first-time $100 donors
      3. Invite at least 10 first-time $100+ donors to your signature events throughout the holiday season

The goal in mind is to move away from transactional giving toward transformational philanthropy. Reaching out to donors without the explicit expectation of receiving a donation will effectively restructure the dynamics of the relationship. The donor becomes part of your mission instead of feeling like an ATM.

At the end of the day, the gratitude you feel toward your donors should be shared with them. You know the impact that every donation has on the people you serve, so don’t hesitate to tell your donors what their support is capable of. Everyone wants to feel recognized and appreciated. Building this connection and pattern of continuous recognition will encourage donors to give during the 2021 holiday season and beyond!