Ready or Not, Year-End Is Coming
Give reasons for giving before Dec. 31 — start 2012 strong, launch a new program in the New Year and yes, the tax deduction. Donors say it doesn't matter — but then they give en masse on Dec. 30 and 31 (see above). In this case, actions speak much louder than words.
Check out your donation page. Is it easy to use with no broken links? Don't risk losing income on Dec. 31, when you are home celebrating the soon-to-be-here new year and your donation page is malfunctioning.
Send a letter to your donors 'most likely to give'
You probably can't get a letter out to your entire file before Dec. 15 (Dec. 7 if you're using bulk rate). But you can probably enlist all your staff, your family and close friends, and some volunteers to get a short, warm, personal letter out to your best donors by mid-December.
Focus on thanking them, but remind them that the job is not yet done. You still need their support. A gift before Dec. 31 will help you launch into 2012 able to feed more hungry people, plant more trees, rescue more animals or whatever good work it is you do. Keep your language conversational and your letter brief.
If possible, use monarch or executive stationery, a closed-face envelope, a reply envelope and a reply sheet that is fairly simple: "Here's my year-end gift of $_____" is fine. Mail it First Class; you want to be sure it gets in-home in time. Trust me — year-end letters that arrive Jan. 2 fail.
Call donors who gave significantly in 2010 but not in 2011
Pick up the phone. Get your colleagues to help you. Call everyone you can who gave a significant amount in 2010 but hasn't yet given in 2011.
Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.