3 things about the holiday season

October 7, 2014       The NonProfit Times      

Many charities generate the majority of their donations during the month of December. But it doesn’t just occur magically after Thanksgiving. It takes plenty of time planning on the front-end, so it’s not unusual for nonprofits to start thinking about it in the summer.

Early audience growth and cultivation are key to a successful year-end campaign, said David Onate, senior online communications and marketing manager, African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), who was among the panelists of “Christmas in August: Year-End Giving Tips You Can Use” during the DMA Nonprofit Federation’s annual New York City conference. He suggested focusing on acquisition in the summer, cultivation during the fall and finally, an appeal in the winter.

Onate suggested a few things to think about months ahead of the holiday season:

  • A pre-holiday audit. Are you effectively driving traffic? Are donation forms optimized? It’s best to test these things before the holiday fundraising season, Onate said, as the last thing you should be doing is tinkering with donation forms in December.
  • ‘Tis the season for paid SEM. “With changes to Google Grants, paid SEM can keep you top of mind during the most competitive time of the year,” Onate said. This past year was the first time AWF invested in paid SEM, focusing on proven keyword groups. Remember to protect your branded terms or someone may grab it potentially losing you that conversion.
  • Mobile really matters. The rise of mobile Internet usage has made it vital to ensure that your brand experience is consistent across devices. More than 50 percent of people use their mobile device over their desktop and almost 90 percent use it to check email.