In a previous blog post, I wrote about how bundling your donor communications can save your nonprofit time and money. In this blog post, I’ll share how you can begin doing just that.
You can bundle your donor communications in two ways: going all in or bundling in batches. Going all in works best when you already know that bundling is best for your team and you have a clear timeline for how many donor communications you plan to send. Caveat: In most cases, I don’t recommend bundling more than one year out as a lot can change in one year.
Bundling in batches is a great approach for nonprofits just starting out with this strategy. We recommend that you bundle a minimum of 3 months of donor communications in one batch.
Either way you choose to go, the steps below will help you start bundling your donor communications right away.
Set aside time to plan your bundles.
Make sure you set aside an appropriate amount of time to figure out your bundling strategy and to assign tasks and deliverables to the appropriate team members. When you plan ahead, you save yourself time in the future!
Pick how many donor communications to bundle.
We recommend you pick between 3 and 12 months’ worth of donor communications to bundle. For some organizations, this may result in more than one donor communication in each month, and that’s OK. The key is to list out all of the donor communications you’re going to include.
You can use a calendar, whiteboard, Excel sheet, Word or Google Doc, or other resource to do this. Just go with whatever helps you organize all of the donor communications, when you plan to mail them, and how they tie in together.
Create your bundling plan.
Your plan should include:
- Mail dates for each donor communication
- Topics, stories, and resources for each donor communication
- Your fundraising goal and clear call to action (if it’s an appeal)
- Anything else that your writer, designer, or team members may need to know to execute the donor communication
I recommend putting all of this into a master road map or creative brief that everyone has access to. That way the entire team is on the same page about what is needed, when it’s needed by, who is responsible for what, etc.
As you work on the plan, look back at past campaign results and make sure that you’re mailing the right communication to the right audience at the right time. Now is the time to make changes to your mail dates, topics, etc.—not 3 or 6 months from now.
You should also make sure that each communication flows or works well with what comes before and after it. Meaning, do you have a good balance of asks and y-touches? Do you need to move something around to better create a sense of urgency or to have a bigger emotional impact?
Really put yourself in your donor’s shoes and imagine you’re receiving these donor communications. Does the order make sense to you? Does anything feel off or random or fall flat? Again, now is the time to make changes, so make sure you feel good about your plan before you execute it.
Execute the plan.
Now that everything is ready to go, it’s time to get your team involved. This is when you start working with your writer, designer, and anyone else who will play a part in executing the plan.
It’s crucial that you assign deadlines for every deliverable, but it’s even more important to keep the communications bundled.
It can be tempting to review one communication at a time, but the danger in this is that pretty soon, everything is separate, they’re all running on different deadlines, and you’ve basically gone back to the month-to-month communications plan that you were doing before.
So what does that look like? All of the writing needs to be done for every donor communication before it moves to review. Then all of the edits need to be made before being passed along to your designer. After all of the design is done, everything goes to the vendor.
While this process might take some time to get used to, after the first round, you’ll see the benefit of keeping everything bundled together.
If you get stuck or decide you want someone to drive this project for you, I’m here to help. Don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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