How to Warm Up Your Donors for Year-end Fundraising

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Have you ever heard of “warm-up” correspondence? Simply put, it’s a communication you send to donors BEFORE you ask them to do something.

You know the warm-up concept from physical exercise. Think pre-game stretches before a friendly flag football game. Or gentle twists and downward dogs before your yoga class really gets moving.

Warm-up communication

A warm-up communication lets your donors know an Ask is coming and starts the wheels turning in their minds about how they can help your organization this year.

For example, before the first direct mail or email goes out in your next annual fund campaign, consider sending a “preview” or “warm-up” first.

The warm-up can take the form of a hardcopy postcard or short email. The key word here is SHORT. In the case of a local food bank, it could look something like this:

Dear Karen,

We wanted to let you know that Small Town Food Bank’s end-of-year fundraising appeal will be landing in your mailbox in the next 7-10 days.

You helped provided hot meals to 1,412 men, women and children in 2017.

The Food Bank’s year-end fundraising will set us up for an even bigger impact in 2018. Thank you for keeping us in mind!

Why bother with a message like this?

  • It puts your organization top of mind in your donors’ heads – at least for a few days.
  • It gets donors thinking NOW about their next contribution to your organization. When the actual request arrives, it’s quicker for a donor to decide whether or not to participate because they have already been thinking about it.
  • This message is not an ask. No one can refuse it. It is simply good donor communication and cultivation… and what nonprofit doesn’t need more of that?!

Have you ever used a warm-up communication? Please share your thoughts, tips and advice in the Comments box below!

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