And just like that, it's August, which (believe it or not!) is a great time to take a step back and plan ahead for year-end fundraising season.

Maybe you're already thinking about this - You probably know that nonprofits receive a significant portion of their individual donations during the final quarter of the year, especially in December. It's the season of giving, after all.

But why do we care about it right now? Too often, we see campaigns that miss out on making a connection between this moment of generosity and who you are. When you're fundraising, be sure you don't lose sight of the importance of your brand. It's your biggest asset. Take full advantage of it.

A new, out-of-left field fundraising campaign might result in some short-term gain. But you could simultaneously be doing yourself a long-term disservice.

The ultimate goal of any fundraising campaign, especially at year-end, is to get your donors to feel like they are essential to accomplishing your mission. You do that by making them the star of a consistent, compelling story about your organization. Keep them connected, and your donors will not only give this year, they'll keep coming back year after year.

During year-end fundraising season, use your brand as your guide for your campaign. At Big Duck, we often tie our clients' campaigns together with a theme - some kind of hook that will help convince donors that now is the time to support their organization. We take time to figure out the donors' role in the campaign and how we can celebrate them as the hero.

But as an agency that does branding (or what we call "brandraising"), we also ask whether that hook fits into the larger narrative that is the organization's brand. Then we play that out across every part of the campaign - from the stories we tell to the design of the email template and copy in the direct mail piece. From the first engagement action to the last thank you note, we see every interaction as a chance to reinforce your brand and your results.

This isn't just branding for branding 's sake - it's about donor engagement. You want to connect the season of giving with your overall organization so that donors can feel a part of your ongoing story, rather than seeing your fundraising efforts as somehow separate. So go ahead and begin planning for year-end fundraising. The present is a perfect time to get started!



DAN GUNDERMAN has brought his writing prowess to projects with dozens of clients since joining Big Duck in 2006. As Creative Director, Dan manages both writers and designers, helping Big Duck produce the best creative work for our clients.

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