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  • Writer's pictureLindsey Nickel

Say “Cheese”! Annual Giving: Messaging With Images

I have two local tax exempt clients based in Trenton, NJ that were looking for a new and different way to enhance their annual appeals. I suggested that we add photos of actual clients, programs and participants (you guessed it) IN ACTION!!  It was a no brainer for me and my SLR camera! I work with many benefactors that say they love to see what their dollars are doing/changing/providing for the people and agencies they choose to support. So we made it easy for them this year! AND guess what…both agencies reported more than a 25% increase in annual giving donations!  Here are the designs for you to view below so that you can see the power of authentic and real photos! But we didn’t stop there, we continue to use these images in our social media messaging and in our email updates and annual reports…now Grant Managers and Donor Directed Fund Managers are starting to take notice, and we are thrilled! We’ll keep you posted on the results, and dissect what is working and what is not, it’s a living, breathing experiment that keeps us all connected with our causes and let’s face it…most people crack a smile or even a giggle when someone is asking them to say “cheese”!    (Click on examples below to see larger image.)

Annual Appeal Examples

Here’s an article below that was recently posted in the Chronicles of Philanthropy with some more inventive ideas…Enjoy!   -Grace-Anne Alfiero, MFA

January 28, 2014

Year-End Fundraising Examples and Ideas

By Raymund Flandez, Holly Hall, and Idit Knaan

In a still-sluggish economy, charities experimented with creative approaches to attracting donors during the 2013 year-end fundraising season. As groups turn their attention to planning their 2014 year-end campaigns, here are examples of strategies used by seven groups and the results each yielded.

Project Aware

Participating in Giving Tuesday and sending more appeals through email boosted U.S. year-end giving for the water-conservation group from $26,000 in 2012 to $37,000. It raised $6,000 on Giving Tuesday alone, the first time it participated.

Oregon Humane Society

The group’s main year-end effort was called “Snuggle Express.” For a donation of $100, the group would bring puppies and kittens to a workplace for a 15-minute visit, while a $200 gift bought a 30-minute visit and $1,000 bought an hour. The $10,000 raised from that effort is contributing to an estimated 8 percent increase over 2012 to $750,000 in 2013.

Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council

For the first time, the organization decided to hold a more uniform campaign that incorporated several marketing efforts, from postcards and emails to video and 20 billboards around Pittsburgh. Giving during November and December rose 24 percent, from $45,000 in 2012 to $56,000 in 2013.

Girls Write Now

The charity raised more than $112,000 at the end of the year, up from $103,00 in 2012’s holiday campaign, by rallying its community of supporters. Starting with a kick-off letter-writing fundraising party, the group mobilized its board and fundraising committee to meet its fundraising goals. The organization is projecting a 10 percent gain in 2014.

Center for Employment Opportunities

The organization is using a year-end infusion of $13.5-million in investment funds—not donated dollars—to help men like this one find work after leaving New York prisons. The investors, including some family foundations, will earn their money back with up to a 12-percent return if the program meets its goals to reduce participants’ repeat incarcerations and increase their employment rate in the next five and a half years. What’s more, New York will save $7.8-million in prison and related costs.

Photo by Annie O’Neil/Courtesy of CEO.

Alzheimer’s Association

By focusing its year-end appeal on how children are affected when older family members have Alzheimer’s disease, the association’s Los Angeles chapter saw a 62-percent increase in year-end contributions two years ago. Last year the chapter featured a diverse group of people with Alzheimer’s disease and their families in its year-end appeal to keep broadening donors’ understanding of the impact of the disease. That appeal raised more than $811,000, a 22-percent increase over the 2012 year-end solicitation.

Jewish Federation of San Diego County

To build ties to younger donors, the federation has stopped charging admission to events that used to cost up to $100 to attend. A free “Men’s Event” featuring basketball legend Magic Johnson drew more than 850 people, up from 250 at a similar event that people paid to attend. More than 40 percent of those who came to see Mr. Johnson were under the age of 40. The group expects the effort to pay dividends in the years go come.

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