How Can You Boost Year-End Giving? Part 1
As a former football player, I tried to be prepared for every quarter of the game. I was especially fired up for the fourth quarter. Like football, the final quarter of fundraising, or year-end giving, depends upon focus, preparation, strategic thinking and continual excellent execution. Unlike a football game, the final quarter for fundraising may be different depending on the organizational calendar employed.
I worked for a variety of nonprofits with different operational calendars. Some organizations had a typical January to December calendar year. In that case, year-end giving took place in the last calendar quarter, between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31.
Other organizations I represented began their fiscal year on July 1 and ended the year on June 30 of the following year. In that case, most key funding activities took place during the second quarter of the fiscal year. I currently work for an organization that begins its new fiscal year on Oct. 1 of each year. Total high-level fundraising success in this regard is determined by what happens in the first quarter of the year.
Every nonprofit executive should know certain trends with respect to end of year giving. Here are 10 statistics you need to know, per a Neon One blog:
- A third of annual giving occurs in December of each year.
- About 12% of all giving happens in the last three days of the calendar year.
- Approximately 54% of nonprofits start planning their year-end appeal in October.
- November (46%) and December (31%) are the most popular months for making year-end asks, but 8% organizations are asking in September.
- 28% of nonprofits raise between 26% to 50% of their annual funds from their year-end ask.
- 36% of nonprofits raise less than 10% of their annual funds from their year-end ask.
- Two-thirds of donors do not research giving opportunities before making gifts.
- 79% of volunteers also donate to the organization they serve.
- 60% of nonprofits make between one and three donor touches for their year-end campaign.
- Direct mail is the most popular medium for year-end asks, followed by email, a nonprofit website and in-person solicitations.
When it comes to strategies to supercharge annual fundraising success this year, a Bloomerang blog suggested, you need a plan with goals, measurable objectives, strategies and tactics. All your plans for giving must be tied to an outcome. Move a prospect’s awareness through a continuum to an actual investment. Create a communications plan with stories that inspire and engage. Make your organization and work feel important.
Make current problems known and with resources, find new solutions to meet these problems. Use photos that sell and provide emotion and impact. Use a variety of communication channels to reach broad potential markets. Use mail, email and websites with a purpose. Use historical data to provide a baseline for your fundraising endeavors.
You must start by analyzing your 2020 results and strategies to discover ways to improve and change, according to Getting Attention. Tips for success include:
- Analyzing data.
- Considering virtual fundraising opportunities.
- Building relationships constantly by hosting engagement activities with individuals, corporations, foundations, associations and organizations.
- Getting your end-of-year plan ready by August or September.
- Looking for new revenue sources.
- Implementing new technology.
- Positioning your fundraising priorities in positive alignment with a variety of prospects.
For pinpoint clarification on the precise strategies and tips needed to be prepared to succeed in the 2021 giving endeavor, Claire Axelrad noted that you need to connect appeals and campaigns to a series of stories, over time, so prospects can visualize the problem your organization is attempting to solve. Through visuals, ask donors to fund something specific and send appeals to different segments.
Use multichannel approaches, such as email, social media, mail, text and other avenues to broaden chances for engagement. Recruit volunteers to assist you in the fundraising process. Create a top 10 list of major prospects to visit through Zoom, FaceTime, in-person, Skype or other means by the end of the year. Train your board to be either ambassadors, advocates or askers on behalf of your nonprofit during the last calendar quarter of the year. Make sure your planning is completed early, so you have plenty of time for implementation.
Salesforce provided several ideas for year-end giving as early as this summer, so you could begin to constantly be in preparation mode for the big year-end push. Three major tips in this regard are focus on your data by looking at prior data trends and data integrity; plan your message based upon your needs and moments when you want your constituents to understand the positive impact your organization is making and could make with greater resources; and make giving easy by having a comprehensive giving page.
Look for common themes and messages. Timing is critical as the end of 2021 is approaching. In fact, we now have fewer than 100 days until Christmas. We still face a variety of unknowns this year. Take every step to be as prepared as possible to fundraise. Your prospects and prior donors await. Show them why your organization is worthy of their investment of time, talent and treasure.
Editor's Note: This is part one in the "How Can You Boost 2021 Year-End Giving?" series. Read part two here.
Related story: What’s New in Year-End Giving?
F. Duke Haddad, EdD, CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. In addition, he is also president of Duke Haddad and Associates, LLC, and freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the past 13 years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration, master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University in business administration, with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.