Are You Making the Most of Holidays? The USO is, Check This Out

Last week, Adrienne shared a few ideas [defunct link removed] of how to incorporate holidays into your fundraising plan.  I love this!

Holidays offer a fresh angle for participant communications. This is why I love holidays; it’s an opportunity to incorporate some new ideas and activities into your fundraising program.  For example when I managed Share Our Strength’s Great American Bake Sale, we created a mini-campaign around the 4th.  What’s more patriotic than a bake sale?  In addition to asking participants to hold their bake sales in July we asked them to send us their best patriotic bake sale photo (Now, aren’t those some patriotic cupcakes?).  Of course, we also had a lot of fun with Halloween bake sales.   Speaking on Halloween, when I worked on LLS’s one of our walks was always on Halloween; thus a new Light The Night tradition started: the annual costume contest.  What about Valentine ’s Day?  Yes, we incorporated V-Day into the DC Walk to end Alzheimer’s.  We sent valentines, the ones you would get in elementary school, to our team captains as part of our recruitment effort.  It was fun and made us stand out.

Last week, as Adrienne’s post reminded me of all the fun I used to have with holidays; I received my weekly living social email which offered a deal to support the USO: Pay $25 and the USO will create a deployment package valued at $50. When I saw the deal more than 28,000 people has purchased it and there was still one day left to go.  I’ve seen Groupons for event registrations, but this living social deal was new to me and it’s perfect!

There are a few reasons why this was a success:

Timing – Coordinating the deal with the 4th was perfect.  Support our troops on Independence Day.  It’s beautiful.  I’m sure this deal would get support if it was offered at another time, but leveraging the 4th makes sense.

Tangible – The deal was a tangible expression of the USO’s mission.  Your $25 will go towards care packages or other morale efforts.

Urgency – The deal is only valid for a few days, so you have to act now.  Urgency is often over looked with fundraising, but it’s important.  We’re all inundated with offers and emails, so a deadline encourages action.  You need to do this before it’s too late.

Kudos to the USO!  This is a creative way to reach a new audience, expand the USO’s brand awareness and raise funds to support the mission. I think it’s probably a fair assumption that most of the 28,000 individuals are new USO donors.  Before we all start creating living social, borrow a tactic from the USO and create a campaign that makes sense for your organization.  A living social deal might not be the answer, but take a few minutes to brainstorm ideas for how you can incorporate holidays into your fundraising plan.

My final thought on the subject is: Thanksgiving!  Instead of sending holiday cards in December, stand out and send a Thanksgiving card to your constituents.  Simply thank them for supporting the cause.