An End-of-Year Fund Appeal Timeline, Part Two

Farmers Market stamps 750x380In part one of this series, I shared some ideas and thoughts on using social media, databases, blogs / websites, and emails for fund appeals. I also promised an idea for using MailChimp specifically. (See 1st week of December below). This post is a schedule to help you keep on track with your fund appeal; part three will be about a process for choosing names.

In having you join me in my process, I hope you’ll have an “aha” moment when you read of something you’d like to try.  I’ve added each new piece of this plan a little at a time, so please don’t think you could start all at once. Try one or two of my ideas if they’ll work for you. Again, I had no time to look at MPDx and how these ideas might fit there. Many things will. Please add your comments about MPDx to help our readers.

Holy FamilyMy Fund Appeal Timeline

Be sure to review the plan on the Staff Web. My November through December plan follows that basic timeline, so several things written there aren’t repeated in the following schedule. I assume you’ll do those steps, too, like praying! Obviously, decide what is reasonable for you and maybe start in October next year if you need the extra time to get things done on schedule.

Since I do greeting cards throughout the year (see Holiday Cards post), I spent the last week of October addressing all November and December birthday and anniversary cards. The first week of November I started addressing Thanksgiving cards, so now I’m ready to start my fund appeal process.

2nd week of November:

I’m ordering the Farmers Market stamps online for our fund appeal (also see NOTES below) and some Holy Family Christmas stamps for thank you notes.

I took a little time looking through stats in TntMPD. I discovered most often the highest responses to fund appeals for us were the ones with changed-lives stories of students. (Remember, Mike and I have always been headquarters staff). I decided to use the highest response appeal as a model (properly filed in my fund appeal folder on my computer, of course) for the letter I composed last night. Of course, that doesn’t mean this type of letter will work as well this year, necessarily. God is sovereign in our appeal and in our relationships with our financial partners.

I’m going through our names today, choosing who receives what. See the (Steps for Choosing Names) for more detail.

Mike and I created a calendar of our best photos (landscapes, flowers, etc.) several years ago . Over the weekend, I’ll go to Snapfish (you may have another online photo company you like using) and order a half dozen of these to send to some top donors. I don’t have to re-create these since the calendar stays in my account. I select a different six families every December. Again, I keep track of these gifts and recipients in TntMPD groups and history.

Christmas Magi3rd week of November:

I’ll order the new Christmas Magi stamps  for our Christmas cards, which are only available by November 19th. If you want to order them early, there’s a charge for pre-orders. (See NOTES).

We’ll begin printing our end-of-year fund appeal letters and addressing envelopes. Read the TntMPD section of part one to learn:

  • how all on our mailing list receive specific letters: appeal, increase challenge, or prayer letter,
  • encouragement to track the responses of your financial partners in order to challenge specifically,
  • how you could send specific appeals, such as a medical or a trip expense, to specific people,
  • ideas for merging pledge amounts and personalized sentences into your appeal letter.

If you like to add a personal note on a fund appeal, checking social media first helps you find something to mention.

4th week of November:

We mail the fund appeals, increase letters, and prayer letters and also the email version of the prayer letter. Whether or not I use MailChimp for these emails, I’ll want to include a link to our site.

1st week of December:

On December 2nd, I’ll post instructions for you on how to create an email reminder that you’ll send the last week in December to anyone who hasn’t yet responded to your fund appeal. I’ll also explain how useful this extra step has been to a few of our staff.

We design our own Christmas card this week and start writing thank you notes.

2nd week of December:

We print Christmas cards and envelopes. We don’t send these to everyone. Mainly we include family, friends, appeal and increase recipients, and all other donors.

In TntMPD, start recording Christmas cards received . I use “card: Christmas” in the description using the letter category. In January, I go to History, selecting all of them. After right-clicking to edit, I make sure all have 12/25 as the date and “received” as the result.

3rd week of December:

Mail Christmas cards and keep up with thank you notes.

4th week of December:

After Christmas, we send an email reminder to those who haven’t yet responded to our fund appeal. See December 1st post for instructions.

Mail calendar gifts. Catch up and keep up with thank you notes.

Steps for Choosing Names

I’ve kept track of individual’s responses over the years in TntMPD groups to help me decide who receives fund appeals. Some of these groups are: matching, medical, EOY, CSU, car, and trips. For example, I know that Miss T. tends to respond to training and trip needs while Mr. and Mrs. M. like matching and medical appeals.

Again, I have quite a long post, so I’ll do a specific post about choosing names tomorrow morning. I’m actually going through names today and will record my steps as I go. I’ve gotten bogged down with this process in years past, so I hope to write something useful for you. You can learn from my mistakes!

What new idea are you going to try?  


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