8 Tips Every Major Gifts Officer Needs to End 2022 Strong
I don’t know about you, but the weeks are flying by right now. The end of the year will be here before you know it. And you’re tired, I know.
Fundraisers are working their plans and creatively reaching out to donors, but are also fatigued. This makes it even more important that you’re focusing your energy in the most impactful places. It’s key to your success and overall health.
Look, I know that, since July, every nonprofit expert and consultant has been writing about how to prepare for year-end and how to end the year strong. And, if you’re like me, you read all of the advice because everyone has different perspectives and ideas. However, now that you’re in the thick of it, it can be challenging to know what ideas would work best for you or will have the right impact without overwhelming you.
So, here I am about to give you eight more tips that will help you prioritize, focus and create space to make sure you’re taken care of so you can end your year strong and wake up on Jan. 1, 2023, saying, “Yep, I worked my plan. I did all I could do to build relationships and serve my donors. I did my best.”
1. Who Is Off Track?
Review your entire portfolio. For donors who have not met their revenue goals, create a quick-action plan to connect with them in November. It’s important not to wait until mid-December. It’s too busy of a time for donors and, quite frankly, for all of us.
In early- to mid-November, consider sending a letter to each donor in your portfolio with a summary of their giving to date. Ask the donor to review it to make sure it’s correct and to contact you if something is wrong. This does two things:
- It’s helpful for the donor for tax purposes.
- It gently reminds donors that they can still give before the year ends. Make sure to include your contact information, so the donor can contact you with any questions or concerns.
2. Complete All Donor Meetings in November
Maybe give yourself until the first week of December, but do not wait until mid-December to schedule either Zoom or face-to-face meetings. As I mentioned, everyone is busy with the holidays. So, review the donors from whom you expect a gift in this quarter. Make sure your solicitations are scheduled and your plan is still right.
3. Who Can You Ask Again?
There may be donors in your portfolio who gave earlier in the year, and yet there is an offer you could bring to them that matches their passions and interests. Don’t assume your donors will only give once a year. Many frontline fundraisers ask for another gift and the donor is more than happy to give again during this time of year. Even donors who are on a pledge should be considered if the offer aligns with their interests and represents a compelling need.
4. Create Year-End Impact Reports
All impact reports should be completed by the second week of December. For your top donors, consider using an outside delivery service because USPS has been very slow. This impact report could help spur a donor to make a last-minute gift before year-end. You can also explore creative ways to send this in ways other than the mail. You may have resources to create a digital impact report or share a video report. You could also send the donor an email, text or voice message to let them know the report is on its way and highlight a few points from it.
5. Make Thank-You Calls for Gifts Received
You will be getting an abundance of gifts coming in from your portfolio. Make sure your organization has a protocol in place that gives you same- or next-day gift reports so that you can thank your donors immediately when you receive their gift.
Too many times, I’ve seen organizations that are slow to thank donors. In fact, I’ve heard donors tell stories about how they gave gifts in early December, and it wasn’t until mid-January until they heard back from the organizations that they received the gifts. The only reason the donors knew the gifts had been processed is that the checks cleared their banks. You don’t want this to happen to your organization.
6. Send General Thank-You Communications
Besides thanking donors for their gifts as they come in, make sure you reach out to as many donors in your portfolio to thank them for their partnership throughout the year. For top donors, call to thank them or send handwritten notes. For the middle range of your major donors, send a quick 30-second video, and for lower-level major donors, send either a video or an email of thanks. All of these are nice touch points.
7. Suggest a Planned Gift
With high-interest rates, now is a good time to consider a charitable gift annuity or charitable remainder trust. There may be some donors really interested in this before year-end.
8. Develop an Email Strategy for the Last Week of December
Coordinate with your direct-response team on how to communicate with your portfolio donors who have either yet to give or you know could make an additional gift. Typically, two or four emails would be reasonable to send out during the last week of December to remind donors they still have time to send their year-end gift.
OK, there you go. These eight strategies will make the greatest impact for your time and resources in the coming weeks. And in January, you can sleep well, knowing you’ve done all you could.
Jeff Schreifels is the principal owner of Veritus Group — an agency that partners with nonprofits to create, build and manage mid-level fundraising, major gifts and planned giving programs. In his 32-plus year career, Jeff has worked with hundreds of nonprofits, helping to raise more than $400 million in revenue.