Here we are 4 weeks into the New Year. You’ve probably seen most of your year-end revenue, with the exception of a few gifts still to be counted.

This means you are probably at the debrief stage asking yourself what went well and what could be improved for your year-end campaign for 2015. As you review your campaign, we wanted to share some successes from one of ours that you might be able to use to improve your year-end campaign for next year.

The campaign, and by this I mean a combination of direct mail followed by a series of 3 emails exceeded the overall gross revenue target by 12%.  With 25% of the overall gross revenue attributed to online giving.

Donors who chose to make their gift online was 16% compared to 84% who responded by mail.  The average gift from online donors was $126.00 vs. $71.00 by mail.    

We know many organizations are seeing percentage increases in the number of gifts and revenue being given online but what specifically did we do to drive the results for this client?

The first thing we did was:  Personalized the email messages recognizing the donors past giving history for the year.  In other words if a donor had made a single or multiple gift already we thanked them and invited them to consider making a special year end gift.

I should note we used the same strategy in our direct mail letter but it’s the extra personalization in the emails that really paid off. And if our emails crossed each other we made sure we noted this in email copy as well.

Our client also received phone calls from donors who had made gifts already who were more than happy to make a special year-end gift.

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Social Media is an essential tool today to ensure that your non-profit can reach your fundraising targets. But you shouldn’t expect social media to be the silver bullet that will help you attract hordes of young donors. It can help you attract younger supporters that will eventually become donors, but it’s still primarily a tool for connecting and engaging with your donors, not fundraising.

To ensure you make the most of your social media efforts it’s important that you build your social media ROAD map:

Research – How are your donors looking to connect with you? What content will they find most interesting? How often are they visiting your social media channels?

Objectives - What are your donors trying to accomplish by visiting your social media channels?

Actions – What actions do you want your social media followers to take? Are you asking them to share content with their networks? Are you trying to grow your likes or followers?

Devices – What social media channels will be the most effective for you in connecting with your followers? And what devices (phone, tablet, home computer, etc.) are your donors using to access your social media channels?

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We’re one week into 2015. If you made a new year’s resolution there’s a chance that you’ve already broken it. Only 75% of people are able to maintain their new year’s resolution through the first week. And it’s estimated that only 8% of people are successful in keeping their new year’s resolution all year.  There are a few main reasons for this:

  • Making unrealistic resolutions
  • Not setting specific criteria for what success in the resolution will look like
  • Using guilt or fear as a motivator

The good news is that it’s not too late to re-make your new year’s resolutions. And to make some fundraising resolutions that will help you raise more money at your organization. The important thing is that all of your resolutions are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-Based. You’ve probably heard this before when talking about goal setting. A resolution really is just a long-term goal though, so you should use the same process.

Rather than striving to ‘raise more money in 2015 than we did last year’, make your resolution clear and SMART – ‘raise 20% more money in our Annual Giving program in 2015, than we did in 2014’. If your organization has only grown at 5% over the past 3 years, 20% probably isn’t realistic, so consider revising that down to 7%, or maybe 10% if you’re really looking for a stretch goal.

And if your boss is demanding that you increase your fundraising by an unrealistic 20%, then you’ll need to set many smaller goals/resolutions to give you the best chance for success.

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2014….it’s been quite a year for our industry! CRA audits, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and Canada Post changes - to name a few - have all caught our attention this year. 

At HMA, we are celebrating 2014. And we want to share some success stories from our lovely clients with you (look out clients, you may even spot your campaigns in here!).
Each of our Top 10 represents a different client. As you can see, their achievements are wide-ranging and inspiring.
Well done everyone for your hard work this year.
Merry Christmas and here’s to an even better New Year!
HMA Top 10 from 2014

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It’s flying through our mailboxes, blasting on our radio stations and spreading like wild fire on our social media sites. You guessed it! Your holiday fundraising campaign is here…

Each new holiday season we hear the growing concern “Are we doing too much?”, “Are we speaking to donors too many times over the holidays?” For a majority of charitable organizations, the holiday season is responsible for a large percentage of their annual revenues. Some even receive as much as 80% of their revenue in December alone.

Each year direct mail continues to take the cake for gift revenue but the growing popularity in online giving has become a bigger factor for many organizations in their annual holiday campaigns.

With a new willingness to try emails, social media adverts, hashtag campaigns and infographics the question of “When do we stop?” has become even more apparent.

The simple answer is don’t stop. And keep integrating. 

Here are a few things to think about:

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The results are in and Giving Tuesday 2014 was a resounding success! Gifts to charities participating in Giving Tuesday totalled nearly $46 million, an increase of 63% over last year. There were 32.7 million Twitter impressions, and nearly 700,000 hashtag mentions of #GivingTuesday. These are the worldwide numbers, and they’re likely to continue to increase as gifts continue to be processed.

HMA also had a hugely successful Giving Tuesday. We were able to help 15 small charities with all sorts of fundraising projects. Most of our team was in the office past 9:00pm doing as much as they could to help our new clients. The teamwork really was impressive to get so many projects completed in just a short time. From account managers, to the production team, and our digital and creative specialists, everyone came together to make it a huge success.

In the past few days we’ve received some very heartfelt messages from the organizations that we were able to help. We’ll try to share more about some of the specific projects that we worked on in the coming months as the organizations are able to execute the plans and projects that we helped them develop on Giving Tuesday.

And be sure to check back around this same time for details on Giving Tuesday 2015. If possible, we’ll try to expand our efforts to help even more organizations next year.


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While our Toronto office has already been hard at work for a few hours, we’re just getting ready to kick off HMA’s Giving Tuesday in Vancouver. There’s a buzz through the office as everyone is arriving. And we’re very excited to be giving back by providing our consulting services free of charge to 15 very deserving small non-profits.

Our new ‘clients’ stretch nearly 5,000 km from Vancouver to Labrador (and there’s even one down in the US). The projects that we’ll be delivering include digital fundraising strategies, year-end fundraising strategies, database audits, program audits, and direct response campaign development. We’re very excited to be giving back this way this #GivingTuesday and we hope that you’ll give back to your favourite charities too. Maybe even to one of the below ;)

Here’s the complete list of the charities we’re working with today:

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If you follow our blog you might remember seeing our past updates about the Oxfam Threads of Change campaign that HMA created back in 2012. I still remember piecing the quilts together and just being so humbled and inspired by all of the wonderful and heartfelt messages that were received. The campaign was a resounding success and it was just featured in SOFII’s I Wish I’d Thought of That show in London, England:

Click here to see the video -- and fast forward to 3:05 to see my big screen debut :)

The quilts have now been distributed around the world, and the response has been fantastic. Oxfam has continued to share updates with their donors as well, who have all been so proud to be part of Threads of Change. I’m so grateful to have been able to help make the quilts a reality and still regularly tell friends and family about the campaign.

If you’re interested in seeing our previous updates which include pictures of the quilts, please follow the links below:

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The results are in…

Earlier this year HMA and our wonderful clients at the IWK Foundation decided to test a new approach for the Foundation’s annual planned giving direct mail campaign.

The ultimate goal was to uncover many more new planned giving prospects.

HMA recommended a combination of HMA’s Legacy Spotlight – an innovative scoring system that helps identify the best legacy prospects within your database – and a refreshed, highly personalized and thoroughly researched legacy prospect survey package.

The results were fantastic!

By contacting the prospects who scored at the top of HMA’s Legacy Spotlight with their legacy survey package, the IWK Foundation saw a remarkable lift in results. Compared to the previous year survey responses doubled, donors requesting more information tripled and confirmed expectancies went up by 40%.

We’re thrilled for our friends at the IWK Foundation and look forward to the exceptional work they’ll continue to do thanks to their generous donors.

If you’re interested in learning how HMA can help your organization raise more money through legacy marketing, please get in touch with us through

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Giving Tuesday was created in 2012 as a national day of giving. HMA has always been committed to giving back through events like HMA’s Goodstock, and this year, HMA is giving back by providing more than 150 hours of free consulting to deserving non-profits. We’ll be pulling together our team of copywriters, designers, data analysts, and digital fundraising experts, and also teaming up with other suppliers from across the country to help as many charities as we can on December 2nd.

We will be providing our services to smaller charities (ideally with less than 10 employees) that are working with a smaller budget. If you’re a non-profit that fits into this category you're invited to submit a proposal to be part of HMA’s Giving Tuesday.

Your proposal should be a maximum of one-page which will provide the following:       

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