By Kirk Walden, Advancement Specialist
The Year End Appeal can be one of our most successful development initiatives of the year. This is our opportunity to tell our story, unveil new plans, and invite those who are in a giving frame of mind to join us in launching a successful 2015.
Ministries and organizations that forgo this opportunity miss out not only on gifts that can make a major difference in the bottom line, but also lose a great chance to begin building relationships with those who receive our other mailings.
There are reasons some ministries decide not to send a Year-End Appeal, but any objections to this endeavor are easily answered.
With mailing expenses, the Year-End Appeal costs too much
Let’s say we send 1000 letters, a $490 investment in postage. With envelopes, paper and ink, let’s say we spend as much as 50 cents per package on color printing. That’s about $1.00 per mailing. That’s $1,000. If ten out of 1,000 recipients send us $100, we’ve already broken even. A well-written year-end appeal will not lose money.
No one reads appeal letters
We can’t expect 50% response rates, because it is true that many people throw away appeal letters. Yet, every major non-profit sends appeal letters; they do so because they know this is a great way to reach new, and existing financial partners. In addition, many—especially the home-bound—only give to appeal letters.
We do appeal letters at other times of year. We do not want to overwhelm our donors with junk mail.
Take it from someone who signs up for newsletters from pregnancy help organizations all over: While you keep close track of your appeals, your recipients do not.
Occasionally someone will send a ministry a note saying, “You send too much mail,” but we absolutely cannot base our mailings on one or two complaints. People are busy—they don’t have time to worry about our number of mailings.
Most ministries do not send enough appeal letters. The Year End Appeal is at the top of the list. This month, let’s make it happen.