For a small, or even mid-sized nonprofit, there are so many things to get done, many hats to be worn and often those all fall on one or two people (paid or unpaid). Regardless of the size of your organization, the breadth of your donor base or the engagement-level of your supporters, putting effort into End of Year giving is a MUST.
According to Nonprofit Tech For Good’s 2017 amalgam of technology data, 30% of all online giving occurs annually in December and 10% of all yearly online giving happens in the last three days of the year. Historically, End of Year giving has been allocated to personal appeals through direct mail, but those times are changing. While direct mail appeals still have their place and should perhaps be employed (based on your donor demographics), online giving has increased exponentially over the past ten years, including a whopping 18% in 2016 alone.
So even if you haven’t yet begun to plan, it is definitely not too late nor a waste of time to start now. According to Cathexis Partners’ ideas on fundraising in the final months and days of the year, creating a theme or story around your organization is the first step, followed by a communication plan that gets your story out there and facilitates your organization’s ability to spread your message across multiple channels.
Key to this plan is building a specific campaign or donation page. Considering the engagement experience of your donors (and their networks) is very important. A dedicated End of Year giving donation page (or campaign) allows your organization to highlight your story, establish immediacy for the gift and communicate with your donors in language that appeals to the psychology of giving. In addition, considering your End of Year campaign or donation page as a curated site for donors that does all of the above, but also suggests giving levels or increments and even describes what those dollars accomplish for your nonprofit can substantially increase the donation amounts you receive. Your mission takes center-stage when your donors (or organizational investors) understand clearly the implicit value of their gift.
Getting your core supporters behind your campaign and encouraging them to not only donate but share the End of Year effort on social media, via email and through making phone calls is an integral part of any campaign, even moreso during the “giving season”, as many nonprofits and organizations are vying for attention and money. Person to person asks, or peer-to-peer fundraising will humanize your online presence.
Finally, be liberal and authentic in your thank yous. Thank everybody: your donors of course, but also your staff, board members, volunteers, surrogates and sneezers. This is likely the last time you will make contact with each one in the year, so it is important to make it count and make it about them. The creation of sustaining (or recurring) donors should always be your end goal: the average sustaining donor will give 46% more in one year than an average one-time giver.