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It’s Christmas in August.

Getting the most out of the year’s most important appeal.

It’s that time of year when in between snatching rare glimpses of an English summer we’re planning and conceiving our Christmas campaigns. For many charities the Christmas appeal is already one of the most  important, this year made more vital by the urgent need to recoup lost income. Amongst the clients that we’re working for we’re seeing a heightened level of attention given to Christmas in and in several cases an upweighting of investment.

Here’s four pointers from us for any charity in the throes of preparing theirs.

1.) The market will undoubtedly be tough but just how tough is hard to tell.

The recession we’re expecting hasn’t bitten yet. And just how fast and furiously it will be is yet to be seen. YouGov is showing 44% of charity donors distrusting the Government over COVID and 21% are concerned or very concerned about being able to pay their rent. This lack of confidence will undoubtedly have an impact on people’s willingness to give to charity. Our advice to Clients is to plan for lower response rates and higher CPA’s.

2.) Focus on LTV

With a tough acquisition market, retention is vital. Christmas is heavily weighted to cash so consider now what you can offer donors to motivate them to give email consent and then plan journeys up-front for achieving that oh-so-vital second gift or better still conversion to committed giving. Think about how Christmas can be the start of something inspiring to a donor, and if the proposition is strong enough consider testing a committed giving ask also.

3.) It’s looking a lot less like Christmas and a lot more urgent

In a tough market it’s the charities that consumers consider most vital that will win-out. This Christmas urgency matters, and that means less Christmassy motifs and more immediate urgent need. But don’t mistake urgency with shouting: urgency is a genuine palpable immediate need, one that donors can easily relate to. Shouting louder won’t work if the underlying ask isn’t robust enough. This needs careful working-on, bearing in mind donors have been inundated with urgent asks since this crisis started. They have learned to sift out those they feel are most deserving.

4.) Know you audience and be relevant to them

Few causes have a one-size-fits-all message. Donor motivations vary around a variety of dimensions. Some donors may be more closely affected by your cause than others, their age and generation group will affect their attitudes as will their demographics. And of course some will or may have recently given. Relevancy improves fundraising performance so segment your audiences and flex your messaging to meet your different segments’ needs. In a tough market this is one of the most significant ways you can widen your reach and grow your income.