Aug 24, 2021

Empower your annual appeal donors


An annual appeal is an outbound donation solicitation that most nonprofits do, and it is often a pillar of the giving calendar. Given that nearly every charity has an annual appeal and annual fund, how can you make yours stand out?  

Many charities reported an influx of new donors in 2020. Online fundraising operates without capacity limits or geographical barriers – unlike in-person opportunities. Therefore, it enables nonprofits to  

grow their supporter network. But what can you do to keep those supporters giving? 

(Over) Share  

It cannot be overstated that you have to make it ridiculously easy to donate to your organization. Part of that is, of course, having the right technology that supports online giving. 

Aside from allowing you to setup a customized fundraising page, complete with branding and recurring giving options, you should seek a solution with embeddable forms. That way, directly on your website, all donations can run through that same solution. And, you won’t have to get a separate one.  

Consider adding a text to donate feature in your campaign. That way, you can share the keyword on social media, print it on your direct mail, and via text (of course!).  

Having multiple avenues to support your mission, that all connect to one another, empowers your donors to give because it is easy and seamless to give. 


You’ll have greater success if you segment your donor base and send a more personalized annual appeal to certain groups.  

Group one should be top supporters across all campaigns and fundraisers. They can get the general appeal letter, and a director from your team should include a personal, handwritten note at the bottom. Those top supporters should never go unacknowledged as such when you can control it.  

Group two should be people who have supported your annual fund in the past. Simply thanking past supporters at the start of your letter shows that you “know” and appreciate them.  

Group three should be the rest of the people who you added to the appeal reach-out donor list. The letter can still be easily personalized by adding a phrase like, “We’ve depended on you as a supporter since YEAR.” That is a simple fact you should both be able to pull from your database and mail merge into the reach out.  

Putting forth a small bit of effort to personalize your reach-out will help your supporters feel like they matter to both you and your organization. By investing in a donor management system/platform and regularly practicing gratitude will benefit your mission for years to come!  


There are a few different ways you can open support for your annual campaign. 

Consider adding a peer-to-peer element to your annual campaign. Do you have high-level volunteers, such as board members and committee chairs, who would be willing to ask their personal networks for support? Find a technology that allows you to add these champions into your annual appeal donation campaign. 

Have you thought about adding a voting element to encourage your community to give? You could have vote options for every class in your school, favorite adoptable puppy, or food bank location. Whatever your mission deliverable, there is likely a voting option people would rally behind. Give them the choice!  

Some organizations have had success getting a corporate or major donor challenge match for their annual appeal. Simply announcing that there is a match increases donations by 19 percent and increases the probability that someone gives by 22 percent.  

Sharing these varied participation opportunities is a great way to strengthen support and rally your community to impact your mission. 


People support your mission because they want to see your constituents have success and well-being. Share those compelling stories! A personal narrative on how your organization really made a difference, with a compelling call to action, obviously inspires giving.  

Supporters also give because there are specific things about your mission that they want to see come to fruition. Be it a cure, stability for the marginalized, equitable educational opportunities – share the data that clearly demonstrates what you are doing! Doing so clearly shows how integral your supporters’ donations are.  Hopefully, you have technology that allows you to easily host these important impact stories in one place. 

Foster connections and give your supporters multiple moments to give, and your annual appeal will be a success!    


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