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Year End Email Appeals

by Jim C Hamil, Managing Principal

As I sit behind my computer working on a few items to wrap the year, I can hear my Outlook Inbox chime every few seconds announcing a new email. What is going on? Is the world ending? Is there another viral email going around? Have I been infected with an email virus?

Curious as to what the sudden influx of email might be I check my Inbox to find a barrage of emails from almost every non-profit organization I have ever given to and many which have me "on their radar". A sampling of the subject lines:

  • Jim, last chance for tax-deductible giving

  • Jim - last chance!

  • Hours left: Save the birthdays

  • Battles

  • Hurry! There is Still Time!

  • Hours until the Tax Deadline!

  • Maximize your 2013 charitable deductions

  • (there are many more, but you get the idea)

This very tired appeal cries of desperation. But as a seasoned development professional it actually offends me, as I'm sure it does many donors. If you cared about my dollar and about my tax deduction why haven't you talked with me about this before now? I know you have staff trained in maximizing my giving; don't load my email box with this SPAM - there, I said it, SPAM.

Annual Giving offices are an important part of any successful development operation, but plan your appeals wisely and don't use cheap tactics dealing with the calendar. Your donors deserve better.

Jim C Hamil is the Managing Principal of The Corley-Hamil Group and has a combined 22 years of vast experience in institutional advancement and not-for-profit development with a consistent track record of exceeding goals.

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