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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

9 Important Rules for a Successful Annual Appeal Letter – Part II

While the purpose of your annual appeal is to raise money, it is also to solicit and cultivate individual donors. These donors become the backbone of support for your organization’s maintenance and growth as they will ultimately represent 80% of the source of donated income. The following suggestions are meant as a guideline. Your board and development committee are encouraged to add to this outline given their knowledge of the community.

  • Timing – Hold your annual appeal the same time each year. Consider tying the timing to a significant milestone. Once established, keep the timing consistent. Many annual appeals are held at the end of the calendar year as individual donors are rounding off their annual tax deductible contributions. This is unnecessary and does not always guarantee a higher return. 
  • Purpose – Each year, identify a specific need that the annual appeal will support. It can be any activity that supports the strategic plan. Be sure to fully explain it in the “ask” document. It is also advisable to give donors the opportunity to contribute to an endowment fund. For example, you might state that a certain portion of each gift goes to the endowment to ensure that the organization continues to carry out its mission.
  • Goal – Establish and clearly state a monetary goal for each annual appeal. Documentation of need can be attached to the letter. In any year, it is perfectly fine and even encouraged to celebrate the success of previous campaigns. 
  • Challenge Gifts – Before you go to the community for an annual appeal, solicit the board and several significant supporters. Mention the gifts from your own agency resources, family, or friends as a percentage of the goal raised in any solicitation. 
  • Database – Previous donors, vendors, tenants, community partners, and other supporters identified by the Board will form the beginnings of a database. Have your development committee spend time identifying names to be added to the database. 
  • Solicitation Packet – An appeal letter, a return card and envelope, and an information piece about your organization are standard to a solicitation. Names gathered from return cards can be used for growing the database, inviting people to special events, and mailing newsletters and activity updates. Contact information requests should always include email addresses.
  • Appeal Duration – The development committee should determine the appeal’s length. Most appeals peak between 45 to 60 days. 
  • Acknowledgements – Acknowledge all gifts as soon as possible; best practice is within 48 hours of receipt. You can use a form letter, but have it personally signed by the board president or development committee chairperson. Carefully check the spelling of every name from a check or return card.
  • Publicity – Publicly announce the campaign’s success. This builds ongoing community credibility and gives a sense of appreciation to those who worked on the appeal.

We can suggest additional strategies to help you produce a more effective annual appeal. Call Bonny Anderson at (302) 530-6806 today to boost your rate of positive responses. Visit our website for more on how we help.

Recipes and Cooking Hints: Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Speaking of comfort food who doesn’t remember this…simple and still great time after time.

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 14/15 oz. can pineapple(chunks, rounds ,or crushed, it doesn’t matter).
  • ¼ c. butter
  • 2/3c. brown sugar
  1. Prepare cake mix according to directions****use pineapple juice from can with water to make up the amt. of liquid calledfor in the mix
  2. In an oblong baking dish melt brown sugar in butter in a 300 oven; mix well to cover bottom of baking dish.
  3. Spread drained pineapple over brown sugar/butter saving juice for cake mix
  4. Pour cake mix over pineapple and bake according to box directions.
  5. Remove from oven and invert to have pineapple on top and to let sugar drizzle through the cake.