The Five Secrets to a Successful Christmas Appeal

It may only be September but if you’ve not started thinking about your Christmas campaign yet, now would be a good time.

Cutting through in what’s become an extremely crowded environment requires plenty of planning and forethought – not to mention some killer tactics. Fortunately, we’ve done the hard work for you and compiled this quick cheat sheet to help get your Christmas appeal off to a flying start.

Your Christmas Campaign Wish List

Start early

Did we mention that it’s a good idea to start early? Admittedly, no one wants to hear about Christmas when it’s still three months away, but the flipside is also true: leave it too late and your message is likely to get lost in the crowd. The closer people get to Christmas the less headspace they have for anything other than the usual frantic Christmas planning and socialising – so make your move sooner rather than later.

Remember, your campaign doesn’t need to explicitly reference Christmas; rather, it just needs to appeal to people’s natural inclination to generosity as the festive season approaches.

Think beyond the obvious.

Traditional mail is a common staple for Christmas appeals, but adding a digital component will help your campaign reach a younger demographic. Think about how your campaign might work on social media and explore ways to make it shareable – like this clever campaign from Heart Research UK. Sing for your Heart is a social media campaign with a simple but effective mechanic: it invites people to Sing, Donate, and then Nominate a friend via social channels in order to raise funds for children with congenital heart disease.

Tap into existing festive traditions.

Another smart option is to let the season itself do the heavy lifting by wrapping your campaign (pun definitely intended) around consumer behaviours that are unique to the time of year. British Heart Foundation did this to great effect with their Secret Santa Gift Guide campaign, which encouraged consumers to search their local BHF op shop for the perfect office secret santa present.

Going a step further is Save the Children’s annual Christmas Jumper Day, which takes place every December and asks schools and workplaces to wear festive jumpers to raise money for their cause.

Have a clear ask.

In a cluttered space, it pays to be direct. Craft your message carefully and remember to tie it back to the impact your organisation has. Demonstrate the difference their donation will make in real, tangible terms.

Make donating simple.

Research shows that people tend to give more at Christmas time, but remember that this is still a busy time of year – anything that requires a lot of effort or multiple steps won’t get traction. If you’re asking people to make a donation, make the process as intuitive and straightforward as possible. If you haven’t already, add a Donate Now button to your website and digital comms and make sure your UX is seamless. If you’re hoping to recruit people to a fundraising initiative, make participation easy and low-effort.