We are a mere 10 weeks away from the start of a new year, and the upcoming holidays are the best time to reach out to donors. Did you know that up to 60 percent of all charitable donations are raised during this season? Here are 10 things you can do to make sure your organization doesn’t fall short in the last 10 weeks of the year:
1. Get Board Members on Board
Board members are your secret weapon for soliciting major gifts. Identify your top 20 donors likely to give $1000 or more, and assign a board member to personally call each one and ask for a gift. Prepare your board members with talking points in advance for optimal results.
2. Partner with Churches
Churches are full of people looking for opportunities to bless others, and chances are your organization’s staff and volunteers are members at several different churches. This is an opportunity to form a natural partnership with the church leadership who can take the lead in encouraging their congregation to give toward your cause.
3. Partner with Employers
Many companies have budgets set aside for charitable contributions or sponsorships at the end of the year, and managers need to spend that money or risk losing it for the next year. Ask businesses if they would consider matching the gifts of their employees up to a certain level.
4. Send Personal Appeal Letters
Direct mail is still a foundational piece of fundraising. A personalized appeal letter from the leader of your organization should be sent to every current donor on your mailing list. For maximum effect, include details of exactly why the organization needs additional funds and the impact their gift will make.
5. Remind Donors of Unfulfilled Pledges
In the same letter, include a separate piece that courteously reminds donors if they have any outstanding pledges yet to be fulfilled. Attach a response device that makes it easy for them to fulfill those pledges immediately. In most cases, people have simply forgotten and will gladly meet their obligations.
6. Offer Premiums
In some cases, it may be appropriate to offer donors a premium in exchange for their end-of-year gift. This could be in the form of a custom calendar or holiday ornament, and is a simple way to thank donors and enter into the festive atmosphere of the season.
7. Create a Social Giving Campaign
Social media is a powerful tool to build awareness and drive people to your website for donations. Make it fun with a creative campaign that engages users and encourages them to share their favorite charity with their friends.
8. Ask Volunteers to Host Events
The volunteers who work for your organization should be active fundraisers as well. One way they can do this is through hosting events such as gift basket auctions, community concerts, dinners, etc.
9. Optimize Your Website
A growing number of people prefer the convenience of giving online, which means that it is crucial for nonprofits to optimize their websites for online donations and mobile gifts. As the era of smartphones matures, nonprofits will see a surge in donations made on their websites via mobile devices. Failing to prepare for this will lead to a clumsy and dissatisfying user experience, and ultimately result in the loss of potential donations.
10. Amp Up the Urgency
End-of-year appeals are effective when they show a specific and urgent need. Give people a compelling reason why X amount of dollars needs to be raised by December 31st. Tell them that time is running out. Create a countdown on your website or social media platforms to track funds coming in against the days remaining. Get creative, but do everything possible to persuade your donors it is imperative to give now.
10 weeks is not a lot of time, but with these ideas your organization can make the most of the last two and a half months of the year. And if you want some help planning ahead for next year, we’re happy to provide that as well.
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