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Home » Wabbit Season? Duck Season? Nope, it’s Annual Appeals Season!

Wabbit Season? Duck Season? Nope, it’s Annual Appeals Season!

The title refers to the famous (if you’re over a certain age) cartoon of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck ripping hunting signs off a tree trying to convince famed hunter Elmer Fudd to shoot the other (spoiler alert: the last sign says Elmer Season and they go after him – genius!)

Every industry has their busy season. My father is a CPA and come February, he does a disappearing act. By April 15th, he looks like he’s been staring at spreadsheets for 2 1/2 months. There are more fun examples than CPAs spending time with IRS agents (or their Canadian Revenue Agency equivalents). Hollywood has their award season at the beginning of the year, and the whole world seems to go gaga over what they’re wearing. I’m sure every mom says the same thing: “Gee, that $10,000 dress and $500,000 Harry Winston diamond earrings would be perfect for Timmy’s soccer game. Hope Ellen doesn’t copy me again!”

Well nonprofits have their season too; it’s annual appeals season and it is upon us! Like retailers gearing up for the holiday season, you’ve probably already started your process. What? You haven’t? Fear not my friends – it’s not too late!

  1. First, let’s start with your donor list. This past August, we told our clients to sign up with our donor prospect research partner DonorSearch and have their donor list thoroughly checked out so they know which donors are giving to other charities, how much they gave, and how much they’re worth! With this info, and the data they have in DonorPerfect, they’ll know exactly who to target for their major gifts (and other gifts).
  2. It’s also a good idea to get your database checked for National Change of Address and CASS verification so you’re not sending your direct mail to old addresses. We offer a subscription so clients can get it checked four times a year (we offer a Canadian version- CCOA as well).
  3. The other thing to do now is to make sure your online donation forms are up, working, and integrated with your donor managements system. We offer WebLink online donations forms integrated with DonorPerfect. We also offer DonorShops, which provides a full eCommerce solutions and a media rich web content system. We even integrate with a solution called CampaignShops that enables nonprofits to sell merchandise with their logos, all outsourced so they don’t have to do a thing except provide their logo. It’s a great way to offer premiums for people who donate a certain amount (e.g. give $100, get this shirt, etc.).
  4. Lastly, if you’re not accepting credit cards and eChecks, sign up now so you can have a merchant account with your name appearing on statements in time for the appeals. We offer several integrated payment processing solutions with DonorPerfect, including EZ-EFT, a way to turn an annual appeal pledge into an automated recurring gift! They are all integrated with our online forms, eliminating duplicate data entry and reducing processing time.

So now you know who to target, you have their correct address, you made it easy for them to donate online, enabled them to use their credit card, debit card or bank draft – you’re all set! A little preparation goes a long way towards a successful annual appeal. If Elmer Fudd gets tired of chasing that wascally wabbit, and he turns out to be a wealthy philanthropist who just moved, loves your nonprofit, wants some reward miles; then it IS Elmer season! Hehehehehehe!

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