By now, you hopefully have already done a large portion of your holiday planning. However, as we so often do, you might have them planned in silos – mail will do this, telemarketing will do that, online will do the other thing.

That’s a pity, because as was discussed last week, there are many different type of messages you want to convey:

  • LYBUNTs and SYBUNTs: Make sure you donate at the end of the year for tax benefits and to jumpstart us for 2016.
  • Major, mid, and sustaining donors: What you’ve done this year has glorious and impactful; thank you.
  • Warm leads: Make your first gift during the season of giving.
  • Regular donors: Last chance to make an impact in 2015.


And so on. If you have one giant we’re-going-to-mail-everyone strategy, these subtle gradations will be sanded down to the lowest common dominator of simply putting out your hand and hoping donors fill it. They might, but you have a nice opportunity to coordinate your campaigns this year.

Here are some first steps toward building a strong multichannel year-end campaign:

Have an overarching goal for the entirety of your year-end campaign. If you can coordinate it among all of your channels, so much the better. This goal and number will be key as you look to bring in gifts from the people who like to donate right before the ball drops on December 31st. Or does the ball drop on January 1st? Depends on your perspective, I suppose. Any way. Before the end of the year. Your end of year donors will be glad to help you move your thermometer up, complete your candy cane, fill your stocking, or whatever visualization of coming closer to a goal you choose.

Have an overarching theme for your year-end campaign. This can be a simple visual signal that ties everything together (e.g., a red bow on a package) or a narrative theme that runs through your efforts, but having this cue will help everyone understand that they are seeing multiple parts of the same whole.

Add a telemarketing cycle to your end-of-year mail campaign. I wouldn’t recommend this for everyone. The ideal candidate in this case is someone who has given by phone before and, ideally, someone who has made a credit card gift in the past. If you are looking to close a gap left open earlier in the year, you are looking for a gift that will be made this calendar year, rather than a pledge that will be fulfill when convenient, if at all.

Email your mail donors in conjunction with your mail campaign. Because end of year is a strong online giving season, now is a perfect time to try to convert those mail donors to multichannel ones.

Add high-touch efforts. This can be handwritten cards, personal phone calls, or online videos from your staff, but these thank you’s can help your donors feel joy over the holidays that they will then share with you year-round. This is especially true of those on whom you want to focus your thanks – your major, mid, and sustaining donors – but don’t forget everyday donors with lower cost thank you’s like a card.

Email your audience regularly. December is not the time to be shy. Ten emails is not excessive during the month, including an ask on the 30th and two on the 31st. Not all of the ten emails should be asks – you should mix in a holiday thank you, a holiday impact story of your nonprofit, and any other large events you have during the year. That said, you can shoot for the golden ratio of three non-ask emails for every ask email for the other 11 months of the year.

Continue the old year into the new. Make sure you continue the energy from your year-end campaign. After the 1st, be sure to thank everyone for helping you reach your goal and tell them the great work their support is going to do in the new year.

All of this takes a good deal of coordination, so make sure your data systems and data base are ready for the end of the year.

So those are some ways to take traditional direct marketing and add some holiday multichannel cheer to them. In the next post, we’ll talk about some new media efforts that can help you at the holidays.

Nick Ellinger
Vice President of Strategic Outreach
Mothers Against Drunk Driving
National Office
511 E. John Carpenter Freeway
Suite 700
Irving, TX 75062

469.420.4494 direct
972.869.2206 fax
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Read more of his direct marketing thoughts here