Top 3 tips for year-end giving

November 6, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

By Anne E. Nash, J.D . Principal and Owner

Top 3 Tips for Year-End Giving 2013

Get started now with your fundraising appeals (October would have been even better! Come December, your donors’ mailboxes (email and snail mail) will be jammed with year-end appeals.

TIP 1 – Online Appeals. Use online giving tools to position your organization for fundraising success – both at year-end and throughout the year. Here are tips for an online appeal strategy for year-end:

On average, up to 40% of an organization’s total annual giving is received at year-end. There are many reasons for this. To be sure, most organizations focus their annual appeals on the last two months of the calendar year. If that is when you ask, then that is when you receive. In addition, donors are motivated by the spirit of giving over the holidays and by tax considerations. All of this combines to make a perfect storm for charitable giving, a good storm!

However, online giving offers a chance to approach donors earlier and last minute – the best of both worlds.  Ideally, approach your donors in early October for year-end gifts – well before the holiday crunch.  Follow up again in late October. Then, appeal again directly following Thanksgiving with a follow up in early December. Everyone is on line (or in line) for Black Friday and Cyber Monday – get your appeal in front of them on your mobile sites or with e-blasts. Market your gift cards too!

Next, go for the procrastinators with a final request late December – try a holiday message directly before and after Christmas. Finally, end with a December 31st last chance email with a simple and very prominent Click Here! and call to action.

TIP 2 – Year-End Workplace Giving Ideas

The year-end season presents an extra opportunity for you if you have a workplace-giving program. If the workplace has a holiday party, position your organization to attend the event to say thank you to the employees and to be a visible example of the employer’s strong community presence.

Brainstorm about what you can offer that is unique and fun. If you are an arts organization perhaps you can bring some creativity to the party in the form of a performance or work of art. Record a video of kids saying thank you if the workplace is supporting a youth group or classroom. Bring some kittens and puppies from the shelter you operate. Think outside of the box.  Have fun.

If the workplace declines your offer to attend an event, then there are other ideas to consider. Many companies are now foregoing the annual party in lieu of a charitable donation. Make sure that your organization is in that mix. Contact the workplaces now to talk about ways that you can add some new twists to their holiday planning.

TIP 3 – Call and Visit!

I saved the best for last. There is no substitute to calling and visiting your best donors before year-end. If they have recently given, then it is purely a thank you call. If they haven’t given recently, find out why. Talk to them and listen to them.  If there is a problem, now is the time to find out. If there isn’t a problem, then ask for a gift!

A Note About Year Round Fundraising

So now you have a plan for year-end giving. As a nonprofit staff person, you are great at multi tasking right?  Make sure you multi task your fundraising efforts all year long. Engagement and stewardship strategies throughout the year are key to sustained success.

The beauty of fundraising is that it really is all about relationships. And you must nurture these relationships all year. Use social networking and your online web presence to tell your stories. Let your donors hear about your good work all year, not just at year-end. Hey – go visit these folks! Engage them at their workplaces and at home.

After the dust settles and the new year begins, take some time to develop a fundraising plan for the new year (or revisit any existing plans).  Keep what works, throw out what doesn’t, look for new opportunities, treat your donors and staff well, have fun, and make a difference!




About Anne Nash
Anne E. Nash is Principal and Owner of My Giving Advisor, LLC, a philanthropic advising firm located in Lexington KY. Nash is a lawyer, charitable gift planner, former foundation CEO, and social innovator. She works with foundations, corporations, and nonprofits to maximize their philanthropy. With past experience as both a funder and a fundraiser, Nash offers a skill set and knowledge that is based on actual success not merely theory.

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