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4 Creative Ways to Say Thank You to End-of-Year Donors

The traditional Giving Season has come to a close, but the first quarter of the year presents a whole new opportunity to engage donors.

Did you know that in the last three months of the year, 28% of nonprofits receive between a quarter and half of their annual funding? That means plenty of new donors and tons of touchpoints with supporters. And now that the noise of the holiday season has died down, it’s a great opportunity for nonprofits and universities to touch base with those folks, as well as express gratitude for their end-of-year contributions. This type of outreach allows you to build deeper relationships with supporters outside of outreach that carries a direct ask.

As you think about re-engaging supporters who are just getting over the business of the holiday season, it’s important to build a strategy that not only showcases the work your organization does but also makes the most of your communications channels by following best practices.

A few of our favorite ways to utilize MMS to say thank you include:

  • Incorporate video clips with a message of thanks from a prominent figure in your organization or school
  • Repurpose graphics from end-of-year email and social media campaigns in a text, reminding contributors of what they gave
  • If you have a new call to action, use Hustle Stories to send a longer video and a link
  • Use images or GIFs in your messages to showcase giveaways they can expect to receive if they donated during an incentivized giving campaign

We don’t have to leave our learnings from the holidays in the past. The strategies we use during seasonal swings like Giving Tuesday contain great lessons to carry into how we engage supporters throughout the year. For example, as the Chicago Booth School of Business prepared for its Giving Day in 2022, the school used the Hustle platform, and specifically texting, to reach its goals. Since then, they’ve built text-based engagement into each of their giving campaigns, and are seeing the results over time.

Chicago Booth needed to engage alumni and supporters faster, so in 2022, they worked with Hustle to reach more than 11,000 contacts on their Giving Day alone.

As they crafted their text campaigns, they employed a few key strategies:

  1. Included an animated GIF of the Giving Day logo to capture attention
  2. Segmented their outreach by donor type, based on the data they were able to pull from the year before, and by classes that had an upcoming reunion.
  3. Supplemented their texting campaigns with email, social posts, postcards, and in-person connections with campus posters and an installation on the day itself. 

By honing in on practices that see higher engagement, Chicago Booth’s Giving Day saw the highest number of alumni donors ever (500 more than the previous year!). In the end, there were 1,300 individual donations totaling over $800,000.

Since running their Giving Day campaign with Hustle, the University now almost always includes an image with their text messages, particularly when they’re offering an incentive item to give their audience a better sense of what they’ll receive when they donate. The learnings from their text campaigns are having lasting results on the school’s fundraising efforts.

“Texting is a consistent and essential component of our Annual Fund and Giving Day outreach. Since we started sending texts for Giving Day three years ago, we’ve been able to cut through crowded email inboxes.”

Amanda Lissak

Senior Associate Director, Annual Giving
Chicago Booth School of Business

Even though we’ve waved goodbye to the holidays and Giving Season, it’s easy to keep up the momentum by saying thank you and reminding supporters of the exciting work you have planned for 2024.

If you’re looking for more tips and best practices to make the most of your fundraising outreach, you can explore Hustle’s End-of-Year Fundraising Guide here!

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