5 surefire ways to mess up your charity’s Xmas appeal

5 Surefire Ways To Mess Up Your Charitys Xmas Appeal

Deny it all you like – Christmas is round the corner. And that means one thing for charities – Christmas appeal time!

Its time to make the most of the giving season, and make an online ask of your lovely supporters. Yep, The yuletide charity ask is as traditional as turkey. But what if you’re not so interested in making your ask properly? Don’t worry, here are five surefire ways to mess up your online Christmas appeal.

Rehashing your last appeal

Want your supporters to ignore your appeal? Easy – just make it the same as the last one!

Why go to all the bother of creating fresh festive content? Just send the same case study, the same stats… basically just your last appeal with a new date on it.

Rightly or wrongly, consciously or subconsciously, Christmas does make supporters more likely to give – ignoring that hurts your appeal’s chances.

Save the Children’s Christmas jumper fundraiser is a great example of a festive tradition turned into a fundraiser. Check out out their Christmas Jumper promo, a spoof featuring comedian Harry Enfield.

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Not truly connecting with people

Still keen to do badly? Then make sure you fail to make an individual emotional connection with your supporters.

The themes of homeliness and family are strong in people at Christmas, and linking to that is huge.

Take Crisis. This homelessness charity has more volunteers for Crisis at Christmas, their annual Christmas day event for 4,300 homeless ‘guests’, than they know what to do with. They aim to make the whole event feel like your own family Christmas day.


Sending supporters to your donate page

Eh? How else can they donate, I hear you (virtually) cry?

Just like you, your supporters are busy people. And in 2015, phishing is totally a thing. If you don’t give donors instant visual cues that they’re in the right place via suitably festive imagery and copy, they’re far more likely to click away than donate.

This approach works best on a stand-alone version of your donate page, one free of all the usual links and distractions your usual one has.

That said, festive imagery like Santas and elves might not be appropriate for an abuse homelessness prevention campaign, say.

But you can still use the same campaign headline, the same header and the same background image that you used in the email or DM appeal that sends them to the donate page. Take Crisis at Christmas again as an example. They’ve created a donate page purely for this campaign – when you click on Reserve Now, you’re taken to a page where you choose how many places you wish to buy so that a homeless person can have a proper Christmas meal.


Making recipients pinch and zoom

You might have social media content going out to support your appeal. That will be easily viewable on mobiles – isn’t that enough?

Nope – this is Christmas 2015, not 2005. So that alone won’t cut it.

If your donation page requires Christmas donors to pinch and zoom (and you can’t afford to get a responsive one built), it might be better to leave the appeal for another year. Making your website hard to read is more likely to spread page-rage than festive cheer.

Don’t make the ask at all

If all else fails, then rely on the maxim that you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

Remember, many of your supporters actively *want* to give at Christmas. Giving them a wonderful cause and deserving charity to give to is a gift in itself.

You wouldn’t deny your awesome supporters a gift would you? What have they done to deserve that?

So there you have it – give surefire ways to mess up your next Christmas appeal. Follow them all and you’re sure to raise next to no festive funds, so be sure to do exactly the opposite!

Got an awesome Christmas Campaign? Enter it in our competition!



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Matt Collins is managing director at digital marketing agency, Platypus Digital, and tweets @charitychap