Walking through an End-of-Year Ask with Sus

(This post is for Cru staff.)

Are you ready for another two-parter post?

I held an EOYA MailChimp workshop at Lake Hart last Friday (links in notes). I hoped I’d have (better) recorded content to share with you today. My mobile phone didn’t recognize the lapel mic we plugged into it. I’m writing that same content in this post today about your End-of-Year Ask (EOYA). In part two, I’ll share about following up your EOYA with MailChimp.

This is an opportunity for you to look over my shoulder as I’m working on our EOYA today.

Have You Thanked Them?

The first thing to do is make sure you’re current with your thank you notes. I try to be up-to-date with thank yous before sending any prayer letter or fund appeal. I wasn’t today, so I picked two that I felt were important and got them in the mail before continuing on with my EOYA tasks. I would have done this last week, but life happens.

After I publish this post, I’ll do the remaining thank yous.

How Is Your Give Site?

Also, check your cru.give.org site to see if it is up-to-date. (I have step-by-step instructions on eQuipping for eMinistry.)

If your ministry partners are searching for you to send a donation, what will they see? Notice in the following search, many staff don’t even have a photo (the gray avatars). Hopefully, they have content on their site. The thumbnail in a search comes from the main photo on your give site (see the screenshot below).

Choose a nice portrait (rather than a group shot) where your faces will show up well for the search.

After you edit you might have a short wait for the changes to show up. Refresh your browser after you update to see your site’s new look.


Content for Your Ask

One of the hardest parts of putting together an ask is deciding on your compelling story.

For story ideas, visit Cru Storylines. I recommend choosing a story that’s pre-November 2018. Why? If Cru knows your partner’s email address, they started sending Cru Storylines to donor’s inboxes at the end of October.

I also have some stories for you  from the Global Leadership Office: bit.ly/Nov18Stories

Writing Your Ask

I recommend capturing some ideas from this year’s Non-profit Storytelling Conference. One of our staff shared his notes and gave me permission to share them with you. After going through them, I re-thought how I would write this year’s letter. Read the notes here: bit.ly/StorytellingForEOYA

Because of the storytelling advice:

  • This year’s letter is a need letter.
    • Our January letter will be the rest of the story, the victory.
  • I edited and re-edited, trying to make the letter more about our financial team than about us.
  • I  outlined the content into these main paragraphs:
    • Started right in the middle of the action, stating the need.
    • What will our ministry partner’s gift do?
    • Why they should give now.

Again, these notes were a major paradigm shift for me. I recommend you read the notes: bit.ly/StorytellingForEOYA

Choosing Your Names

I follow the guidelines on the StaffWeb for choosing names. I also consider what I know about current life situations and past interest in appeals. If we are asking, we send our ask via snail mail, not by email. I know this isn’t true for everyone. I use MailChimp for reminders and prompts in December, which I will write more about in the next post.

MPDX users can opt to let MPDX create an appeal list of everyone who’s given in the last five years. You’ll probably want to remove or add names from this list, so look it over. If you have any questions as you use this new feature, click on the question mark in the lower right corner of MPDX.

Deciding on Your Strategy

You know that you should send your paper ask letter the Friday after Thanksgiving if you can.

If you’re going to do your end-of-year ask via email, consider sending it out on Giving Tuesday (the Tuesday after Thanksgiving). #GivingTuesday is catching on, so this may work for you, too. Put your action button (Give) right near the top of your email. The Storytelling notes has a section on sending an email appeal.

This is only a brief mention about email appeals for people planning now for #GivingTuesday. I’ll write more about MailChimp in the next post.

I’ll be explaining about strategies for using MailChimp after your appeal is sent in part two. In brief, I’ll cover some of the following:

  • A Christmas prompt after or near December 10 (we send Christmas cards).
  • An email reminder on December 28th (and why that date is significant).
  • The possibility of using MailChimp’s postcards.
  • Optional New Year’s greeting early on December 31st.
  • And more.

NEW: If I mention dates, I’ll put them in the e4e Google Calendar. Copy dates to your calendar or follow the entire calendar.

Trust God

You’ve prayed; you were diligent and as timely as you could be. Everything is in God’s hands, but you’ve been faithful. He will be, too.


  • I created an e4e Google Calendar for all the dates mentioned in this series to help you remember dates in your own calendar.  Copy dates to your calendar or follow the entire calendar.
  • This post is part one in an end-of-year series.
  • Inside MailChimp helps you understand how MailChimp works.
    • You’re welcome to watch my MailChimp workshop (held 11/16/18). Follow along with my PowerPoint. My apologies for the lighting and sound. (I can only get better at this.) The shorter video is the beginning of the talk. We had to start back up with the second video. Watch these on Workplace. The slides are here: http://bit.ly/MC2018EOYslides.
  • Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

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