Tips on End-of-Year Giving

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Written by Alex Comfort, CFRE

My email box is full of consultants giving me their latest ideas on maximizing end-of-year giving. Frankly, I suggest you read everything you can and use what works.

 At least 40 percent of all donations in the U.S. come between October 15 and December 31. I do a lot of my giving then, and maybe you do, too. Here are some quick tips to remember:

  1. Segment your donors. Old people like me like direct mail. Younger folks like phone solicitation or email or social media for asks.
  2. Telling an emotional story is the way to go. Donors want to feel involved emotionally. If you are not an emotional person, get someone who is to advise you.
  3. Instead of your mission statement or the “state of your charity,” start your solicitation with a gripping story of how your donor can be a hero. If I am the donor, I want to feel good about my gift, not about how many clients your organization served in the first two quarters of 2018.
  4. If you and your organization have a special funding need to be solved on Giving Tuesday or over the holidays, go with it. If not, an annual fund need like keeping the heat on is understood by donors if you communicate your need in the right way.
  5. I’m a big fan of Giving Tuesday, but only if you do it right. Start early, find a specific thing you need for $10,000 or less, bombard social media, copy others’ good ideas and overcommunicate on the day. If you are new this year, get started but don’t expect too much.
  6. Block out Dec. 7 to Dec. 26. No mail/emails then, but Dec. 27 – Dec. 31 is still prime fundraising time.
  7. I like to send my general annual fund piece in the first half of the year and then send something special for holiday time.
  8. If you are including new donors in your appeals, remember that a 1 percent return on acquisition mail is considered really good. Don’t forget your lapsed donors.
  9. Remember your vendors at this time of year. They might have a gift or even a nifty, budget-relieving gift-in-kind for you.

Don't drop the ball at the end of the year. There are donations to be had before the ball drops, so take advantage of your supporters' holiday-season generosity.

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