It’s Year-End... Time to Step It Up!
The world of fundraising spins quickly throughout the year. It seems to spin at a constant speed for nine months. During year end—beginning in October—the spin rates pick up dramatically and continue to increase throughout November and December when sparks begin to fly. Whether you like it or not, you must step up the pace this time of year because success depends upon an increased number of contacts and solicitations.
Previous statistics in fundraising validate the fact that success in the last three months of the year are critical to attaining the total fundraising goal for the entire calendar year.
According to Neon CRM, here are 10 statistical facts that fundraisers need to realize each fundraising year.
- Nearly one third of annual giving occurs in December.
- Twelve percent of all giving happens in the last three days of the year—make sure your online branded forms look their best to maximize the final days of year-end donations.
- Over 53 percent of nonprofits start planning their year-end appeal in October.
- November (46.2 percent) and December (30.8 percent) are the most popular months for making year-end asks.
- Twenty-eight percent of nonprofits raise between 26 to 50 percent of their annual funds from their year-end ask.
- Note that 36 percent of nonprofits raise less than 10 percent of their annual funds from their year-end ask.
- Two thirds of donors do not research charities before giving.
- Volunteers are twice as likely to donate than non-volunteers, so continue to engage volunteers whenever possible.
- Nearly 60 percent of nonprofits make between one to three donor “touches” for their year-end campaign.
- Direct mail is the most popular medium for year-end asks, followed by email, organizational website and in-person asks.
Knowing what will likely take place by the end of 2018 is important. It is also imperative that you evaluate potential fundraising trends and forecasts for 2018. CauseVox says that the “2017 Global Trends in Giving Report” pointed towards a positive 2018 outlook for the fundraising industry.
It suggests the following shifts in 2018, which include moving donor stories somewhat away from your organizational social media generally to individual donor personal pages, email and in-person. Continue to focus on email, use the Internet to a greater degree, focus on generating revenue online and realize your donor base is now shifting from Baby Boomers to Generation X and Millennials. Adjust your fundraising plan to ensure you are catering to the average donor. Have you employed any of these strategies thus far this year?
Winspire’s “Charitable Giving Forecasts for 2018” include the fact that tax law changes will reduce individual charitable giving this year. Nonprofits will need to emphasize the donor experience and communicate authentically with supporters through a mobile-friendly donation page. Potential donors should also be encouraged to recommend your charity for a potential donor-advised fund grant.
While you only have less than two months left in this calendar year to secure additional funds, see if any of the following strategies can be applied or have been applied this year to your organization. Gail Perry provides important points on this subject:
- Build up your donor loyalty by encouraging a positive donor experience.
- Provide a well-designed special event strategy.
- Commit to a certain number of face-to-face visits per month.
- Simplify your online donation form.
- Target Facebook ads.
- Train your board and CEO on what good fundraising looks like today.
- Ask engaging questions to planned gift prospects about their will.
- Appreciate, train and support front and back office staff.
- Clean up your database—segment your mailings.
- Make your donor the hero and tell stories about a person you have helped.
If you can, use the phone effectively. Thank all your donors and ask them for renewed support.
It is now November and crunch time for you and your organization. The next two months are the most important in the whole fundraising year for you. See where you are with respect to goals and seek to make fundraising plan adjustments if possible. Use various fundraising approaches that makes sense for your organization. Communicate to your target segments how important increased revenue is to enhance the mission and services of your organization.
Ask your CEO, administration, board, staff, volunteers, prospects and others to “step it up” during the next several weeks. You can celebrate after Jan. 1, if success is secured. For now, work harder than ever to raise funds. Make program adjustments if needed and motivate others to greater heights. Statistics don’t lie as to the annual fundraising potential of November and December. Seek to harvest the crop now before it is too late!
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, lecturer and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 11 years. He has been a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where he was previously named the AFP Indiana Chapter Fundraising Executive of the Year and has held the CFRE designation for many years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, IN plus Adjunct Professor for Olivet Nazarene University. Contact Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-224-1029.