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‘Tis the Season to Plan for End-of-Year Giving

Posted: September 16, 2015 at 3:22 pm

shutterstock_177499247Fall is fast approaching. The air is cooler, nights are longer and the most important months for fundraising are about to arrive. If you haven’t already started planning, now is a good time to get end-of-year donor engagement activities in order. Most nonprofits receive a bulk of their gifts in the last three months of the year, and your organization must be prepared.

Here are three tactics to help you prepare for the season of giving!

  1. Review your donor communications calendar.
    You’ve been reaching out to donors throughout the year by email, phone, in-person lunches or dinners, and various events hosted by your organization. But, now it’s time to review your donor history to understand how each individual is supporting your mission. Have your cultivation efforts generated more interactions from the donor with your organization? Has this person attended an event this year? Did he/she raise or lower annual donations? Did he/she become a monthly donor or stop giving altogether?

    Segment your donor lists, so each person is given the time and attention needed for ideal engagement. It’s more work, but these necessary opportunities help your donors feel like you care, and that you are listening. They are more than just another gift; they are your advocates, and crucial to meeting your organization’s long-term goals.

  2. Optimize your website for an uptick in activity.
    Go through your website in detail to ensure a fluid donor experience. Is your call to action visible and easy to understand? Is the giving process streamlined and responsive? Is your development team prepared to receive the onslaught of gifts? If not, how can they get ready?

    It’s important you respond within 48 hours to the donor. This immediate response speaks volumes about your gratitude. And remember, gifts of time, treasure and talent should be treated equally. They are all mission critical.

  3. Prepare your frontline team.
    It takes a village to raise awareness about your cause. This is especially true at the end of the year, when people are running in fifty different directions—with more than one organization asking for support. That’s why it’s critical that everyone, (and I mean everyone), is part of your organization’s ask.

    Every team member—administrative staff, volunteers, board members, key stakeholders and advocates—is provided with a case for support to share with his or her circle of contacts. Key points to include: mission, clear call to action, and additional ways to get involved. Provide your web address or distinct landing page for this campaign, a phone number with a person ready to answer on the other end, and email address tied to someone who will respond promptly to questions.

This list is by no means an exhaustive strategy to effectively share your organization’s message. But, it will get your planning started, in order to receive an outpouring of support this giving season!