Tag Archives: charitable year end giving

Avoid Yearend Fundraising Crisis

Part two of a two-part series on year-end fundraising. Missed Part One, read it here.

Christmas decorations display - a red & green ...Christmas decorations display - a red & green theme (Photo credit: IronRodArt - Royce Bair ("Star Shooter"))

Yearend giving is in full swing. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the holidays nonprofits are busy soliciting. Email, direct mail, TV and in-person solicitations are on in full force. Competition for the philanthropic dollar is fierce as organizations seek to encourage our generosity. Our heartstrings are pulled at, and it is easy – and good! – to impulsively give. With just a “click” on a link we can make a difference in no time flat.

Keep that holiday giving and soliciting going. At the same time, if you are a nonprofit leader, we suggest taking a moment to think about your fundraising strategies for next year. Remember, yearend giving is both fun and dangerous.

For some organizations 40% of their annual budget comes from their yearend campaign. While it may be wonderful to know you can raise 40% during a short period of time, it is perilous if you don’t meet your goal. Here’s the danger: what if there was another disaster such as Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina, September 11th, or the financial meltdown of October 2008. Those events redirected – and eliminated – discretionary giving by individuals, foundations and corporations. While giving to the Red Cross and other disaster organizations increased, many local nonprofits found themselves in financial jeopardy.

If possible, spread your fundraising across the year. If you are using direct mail or email as a driver for your campaign, consider doing two or three campaigns throughout the year. Consider increasing the number of events you host. Look at your one-on-one solicitations: are board members meeting with individuals and corporate or foundation representatives to ask for their financial support throughout the year?

Reduce your risk with well-organized, year-long fundraising. Reach as many people as you can before the yearend. In December you are literally competing with both nonprofits and consumer-based businesses for limited discretionary dollars. Get ahead of the crowd!

Think about doing things differently in the coming year. Set a fundraising goal for each of the first three quarters of the year, and allocate the fourth quarter to thanking and celebrating your donors and encouraging last minute, spontaneous gifts. These can take you over the top if you reach your goal in the first three quarters.

Take the stress off your staff and volunteers – let them focus on the joy of the holiday season without feeling the organization’s financial health rests on their shoulders during a very condensed period of time. Spread it out across the year.

Fundraising is really all about planning. Yes, you have to ask, but plan how and when and who you ask. Be creative. Get ahead of the pack – set quarterly goals and engage people at less stressful times of the year.


The Year End is Upon Us

Part one of a two part series on year-end fundraising

Just in case you don’t know, the year-end is quickly upon us. Christmas. Hanukkah. New Years Eve.


This is also the time nonprofits roll out “year end” fundraising campaigns. Many started a few days before Thanksgiving. Or earlier.

If your organization is feeling a little “late to the party” social media maven Pamela King of CMB Business Solutions @CMBVA suggests hosting a Facebook event as a low-cost, low-stress fun way to engage potential donors. “No one has to get dressed up. You don’t have to drive. It’s easy and fun. But don’t get too carried away and forget the call to action,” she cautions. “It is all about giving and inspiring your guests to give. Be sure to drive people to your donate page.” Get started by clicking the “Create Event” button!

While the time for crafting a traditional email appeal has passed there is still time to craft and send an emotionally compelling email appeal. Keep it short and sweet. Be specific about how funds raised will be used, and how much you are seeking to raise. If you can secure a matching gift, that can add appeal. Remember, year-end nonprofit online giving tends to be impulsive, so appeal to your donors’ desires to make an impact and share some of the joy they are experiencing. As with all email, use a catchy subject. Include links to a special year-end giving page on your site if you have one. If not, link to your donate page. Tweet your appeal. And post on Facebook.

As a best practice we suggest you also take the time to open a free account with Guidestar. Donors and funders check Guidestar to learn details about nonprofits and to ensure their legitimacy – you want to be listed there.

Holiday greetings are another form of year-end giving. The American Cancer Society offers you the opportunity to purchase traditional holiday cards as well as e-cards. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital offers tribute cards – make a gift supporting their research and honor your friends and loved ones at the same time. Check it out.

Nationally the United Negro College Fund has rolled out a “Gift Catalog” at . This online store lets donors imagine they are purchasing a text book ($125) or school supplies ($10) for an undergraduate; a dissection kit ($50)  or scientific calculator ($150) for a pre-med, biology or chemistry student; or a T Square ($15), drafting pen ($15) for an engineering student. All funds are pooled and used to support students at UNCF colleges.

Finally, don’t forget to personally reach out to individuals who have supported your organization throughout the year. The gift of appreciation is a great gift to give.

Next week: can we skip year-end giving?