Evergreen Campaigns: Planting Seeds for Lasting Impact

Year End Giving is around the corner.

You are still coming off the high (or maybe the low) of the 2023 Giving Tuesday blitz.

We know your entire fundraising team is exhausted with the emphasis on a small portion of the year being when your nonprofit brings in the majority of your fundraising dollars. In fact according to the M+R Benchmarks report, 26% of total revenue came in for nonprofits during the month of December.

While we clearly can’t ignore the buzz of Giving Tuesday nonprofits can and should be exploring a fundraising strategy that goes the distance all year round. Has your nonprofit invested yet in the concept of Evergreen Campaigns?

The Limitations of One-Day Bliss

Giving Tuesday serves as a spectacular burst of generosity—a dazzling fireworks display that’s bright and beautiful but over in a flash. However, relying solely on these one-day wonders can thrust your organization into a financial rollercoaster, leaving you desperately trying to stretch that brief moment of abundance throughout the year.

According to Neon One, Giving Tuesday 2022 brought in $3.1 billion in just 24 hours. The remaining 364 days often pale in comparison, creating financial uncertainty for many nonprofits. Now, envision a world where giving never stops.

Evergreen campaigns are the antidote to the one-day event syndrome—a strategic shift in your nonprofit’s fundraising that will eliminate the reliance on a super successful year-end giving season. Evergreen isn’t just a strategy; it’s a financial safety net, a lifeline that ensures your mission doesn’t hinge on a single day’s generosity.

These campaigns are the heartbeat of sustainability, offering a lifeline beyond the peaks and valleys of traditional fundraising events.

The Perks of Evergreen

Why shift to evergreen? It’s not just about the consistency; it’s about crafting a reliable foundation for your organization’s vision. Imagine having a steady stream of funds, allowing you to plan, execute, and assess the impact of your projects with precision. Evergreen isn’t just a strategy; it’s a mindset—an acknowledgment that the journey to change is a marathon, not a sprint.

With sustained engagement initiatives, you’re not just acquiring donors; you’re building lasting relationships. According to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, donor retention rates average at 42.6%. Increasing donor retention, even by 5-10%, will have a significant financial impact on your overall organization revenue.

Evergreen campaigns come in various shapes and sizes. Monthly giving programs, recurring donations, sustained engagement initiatives—these are the building blocks of lasting impact.

Exploring Evergreen Avenues

Evergreen campaigns come in various shapes and sizes. Monthly giving programs, recurring donations, sustained engagement initiatives—these are the building blocks of lasting impact. Take, for instance, Yeeboo Client Médecins Sans Frontières, where their monthly giving program has become the backbone of their mission, ensuring ongoing support for their cause.

Monthly Giving Programs:

  • Encourage supporters to commit to a recurring monthly donation, providing a steady and predictable source of income for the organization.
  • Example: Highlight the impact of consistent monthly donations by showcasing success stories or demonstrating how a small monthly contribution adds up to significant support over time.

Recurring Donations Campaigns:

  • Emphasize the importance of ongoing support through recurring donations at various intervals (monthly, quarterly, annually).
  • Example: Launch a campaign around a specific project or initiative, urging donors to commit to regular contributions to ensure the sustained success of the project.

Sustained Engagement Initiatives:

  • Focus on maintaining a connection with supporters over time through engaging content, updates, and personalized communications.
  • Example: Implement a donor engagement series, delivering a sequence of content (emails, videos, or interactive webinars) that keeps supporters informed about the organization’s work and fosters a sense of belonging.

Legacy Giving Campaigns:

  • Encourage donors to include the nonprofit in their wills or estate plans, creating a lasting impact through planned giving.
  • Example: Develop a campaign around the concept of leaving a legacy and showcase stories of individuals who have chosen to support the organization in this way.

Content Repurposing Campaigns:

  • Repurpose and recycle evergreen content to maintain a consistent online presence and reach new audiences.
  • Example: Create a series of blog posts, infographics, or videos that explain the organization’s mission, impact, and ongoing projects. Share this content across various platforms to continually engage both existing and new supporters.

Remember to incorporate a mix of these campaigns into your overall strategy to create a comprehensive and effective evergreen marketing plan for your nonprofit.

Making the shift to evergreen requires thoughtful planning. From crafting compelling messaging to navigating potential challenges, the journey is as important as the destination. Consider factors like donor communication, technological infrastructure, and internal alignment as you embark on this transformative path.

Ready to Take the Leap? Tips for Implementation

Making the shift to evergreen requires thoughtful planning. From crafting compelling messaging to navigating potential challenges, the journey is as important as the destination. Consider factors like donor communication, technological infrastructure, and internal alignment as you embark on this transformative path.

Donor Communication:

  • Are our communication channels optimized for donor engagement?
  • How frequently do we currently communicate with donors, and is it sufficient to maintain ongoing engagement?
  • Do we have a system in place for personalized communication that considers the preferences and interests of individual donors?
  • Are we effectively communicating the long-term impact of donations and the value of sustained support?

Technological Infrastructure:

  • Is our current donor management system equipped to handle recurring donations and track donor engagement over time?
  • Are our online donation platforms user-friendly and capable of handling recurring transactions securely?
  • Have we considered integrating customer relationship management (CRM) tools to enhance donor relationships?

Internal Alignment:

  • Are all departments within the organization aligned on the goals and strategies associated with evergreen campaigns?
  • Do we have a dedicated team or individual responsible for overseeing and optimizing evergreen campaigns?
  • Have we established key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of evergreen initiatives, and are these metrics communicated throughout the organization?
  • Are staff members adequately trained to understand and promote evergreen campaigns to donors?

Financial Planning:

  • Have we conducted a thorough financial analysis to understand the potential long-term impact of evergreen campaigns on our budget and sustainability?
  • Are there additional costs associated with implementing and maintaining evergreen campaigns, and have these been factored into our financial planning?
  • Have we explored potential sources of funding or grants specifically designated for organizations implementing sustainable giving programs?

Legal and Ethical Considerations:

  • Have we reviewed and ensured compliance with all legal requirements related to recurring donations and planned giving?
  • Are our data privacy and security measures robust enough to handle recurring donor information responsibly?
  • Have we communicated transparently with donors about how their information will be used and protected in the context of evergreen campaigns?

Impact Measurement and Reporting:

  • Do we have mechanisms in place to measure and report on the ongoing impact of evergreen campaigns to donors?
  • How will we communicate success stories and milestones achieved through sustained donor support?
  • Are we prepared to provide regular updates to donors on how their contributions are making a difference over time?

By addressing these questions, nonprofits can gain a clearer understanding of their preparedness for evergreen campaigns and identify areas where improvements may be needed to ensure long-term success and impact.

Let's Chat, Let's Act

Ready to explore the evergreen landscape? Dive into the conversation with the Yeeboo Digital team. With over 12 years of experience supporting nonprofits in their evergreen campaigns, we have valuable insights into how your organization can succeed with this transformative approach. Let’s cultivate change together and ensure your mission thrives beyond the peaks of traditional fundraising.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Evergreen Campaign Series! In our next instalment, we’ll delve deeper into advanced strategies, success stories, and practical tips to elevate your evergreen campaigns to new heights. Subscribe to our newsletter for updates and exclusive content. The journey to sustainable impact begins now!

Tasha Van Vlack

Tasha Van Vlack (article author) is a nonprofit connector, marketer and advocate. She works closely with the Yeeboo Digital team to curate excellent resources that will support nonprofit professionals in advancing their missions.