Year-end fundraising season is here and I’m seeing a steady stream of fundraising appeals arrive in the mail and in my inbox. As sure as I can count on receiving Aunt Nancy’s 3-page (front and back) annual family newsletter, there are a few themes that always seem to creep into the mix of these donation requests.

 

Holiday Coffee Cup

Photo Source: Big Stock Photo


At the risk of being a Scrooge myself, here are three holiday fundraising pet peeves that I hope to see less often this year:

  1. Making me feel guilty about my daily coffee: The classic line of forgoing a daily latte to make a donation is often used to illustrate how easy it can be to find a way to give a little and have it add up to a lot. However, the world is certainly not going to be a better place if I skip my coffee (trust me), and I want to be inspired to give, not guilted. Let me give my donation in a happy, caffeinated state and leave Starbucks (and guilt) out of it.
  2. Putting a snowman on it. (Or reindeer. Or fir trees.): Unless you are actually working to save snowmen, reindeer, fir trees -- or any other emblem of the winter holidays, avoid featuring any of these as the star of your fundraising appeal. The best use of an image is showing me a real photo of the people or animals my donation will help. Bonus: Avoiding the traditional clip art will also help your appeals stand out from the crowd!
  3. Using too many shopping metaphors. Unless you can clearly tie the idea of shopping to giving the gift of charity, specific impact levels or a holiday giving catalog, as done very successfully by Heifer International or even Network for Good's own Good Cards, consider leaving the shopping to the mall. Giving a donation is a highly personal and emotional act; don’t take me out of the moment by overusing phrases like: "buy now", "holiday shopping" and "shopping list".

Your best bet to get me to donate to your cause in December? Tell a great story, stick to the point and clearly tell me what I can do to help. Happy fundraising!