Make Every Fundraising Day Count in December
I do not know about you, but I am now in a full-blown fundraising sprint to the end of the year! I am multi-tasking. Yesterday, I arrived in the office at 7 a.m. and the day did not end until I arrived home at 7:30 p.m. There is not a minute to lose. Beyond many job-related tasks, I spent time identifying, cultivating, stewarding, and especially soliciting individuals, corporations, foundations, associations, and organizations.
I also volunteered last week to help three organizations in their end of year fundraising activities. When you work in the world of social services, all you think about, especially in December, are the needs of others. Why should nonprofits sprint to the end of the year at this time on the calendar?
According to Neon One, there are major year-end giving statistics that show how powerful December is each year. One-third of annual giving occurs in December; 12% of all giving occurs in the last three days of the year; more than 53% of nonprofits plan their year-end appeal in October; November and December collectively represent 77% of the most popular months for making year-end asks; and 28% of nonprofits raise up to 50% of their annual fund from their year-end ask.
In addition, two-thirds of people who make donations do not research before giving; 80% of volunteers also donate to their organization; 60% of nonprofits make up to three touches for their year-end campaign; and direct mail is the most popular medium for year-end asks, followed by email, website, and in-person asks.
The Allegiance Group noted that there are essential things your nonprofit should do at the end of the year. These include holding an annual meeting, electing officers and directors, preparing financial reports, approving next year’s budget, filing IRS Form 990, filing your Secretary of State Annual Report, maintaining a registered agent, obtaining or renewing charitable solicitation licenses, reviewing solicitations and donor receipts, and updating your files and records. Strive to assess and make plans for the new year. Critique your operational results and strive to improve your operational model.
The Tapp Network published five fundraising benchmarks every nonprofit should know to double December donations. These benchmarks include 30% of fundraising occurs in December, 10% of all online fundraising occurs in the last three days of the year, 30% of donation page traffic occurs around Giving Tuesday and early December, and 200% more donations are raised by mobile-responsive as opposed to non-mobile websites.
Also, 52% higher donation values are attributed to December than any other time of the year. Be prepared for the December rush by building email lists and social media support now. Upgrade your sites to be mobile responsive and donation collective during December. Send reminder emails during the last week of December and continue to ask for financial support via social media.
For a Good Cause noted that for December fundraising efforts, which heighten a spirit of generosity, create a year-end customized donation page on your website. Double check that your website is optimized for mobile, so your page is user friendly. Brand your campaign, tweet about the campaign, and link the donation page to your Instagram bio. Because New Year’s Eve is the biggest day of the year for nonprofits, send out multiple appeals that day using all social media channels. Create a fundraising thermometer on your website and keep it up to date. Do not forget to thank your donors by telling them what they accomplished by giving your organization money.
Use December as a time to utilize creative Christmas fundraising ideas. An article by Donor Box provides you with wonderful possibilities in this regard. An estimated 43% of higher income donors (households earning more than $200,000 annually), donate more during the holidays.
Key December Ideas shared by Donor Box include the following:
- Create a matching gift program.
- Establish a gift-wrapping party to engage volunteers.
- Create a soup party for volunteers, wrapped around a donor thank-you call event.
- Hold an ugly sweater party where participants pay to enter.
- Hold a polar plunge for your nonprofit.
- Host a holiday gala dinner.
- Establish a Christmas-themed fundraising day.
- Invite donors to have a Christmas cookie bake-off.
- Have a story telling campaign on social media.
- Have volunteers create homemade Christmas cards.
- Host a letter to Santa event.
- Create a donate page on your website.
An article by National Giving Month noted that if 10,000 signatures from people who believe in charity are sent to U.S. Senators, Congressman, and the White House, a legislative resolution will be offered proclaiming December as National Giving Month. Last year, Americans gave $410.2B to charity, breaking all previous records. Our generosity demonstrates that even in divisive times, our commitment to charity is secure. So far, 10,194 supporters have signed the proclamation and counting.
There are three weeks left in 2021. It is never too late to try something new. See where you are in your fundraising goals. Engage your staff, administration, volunteers, friends and organizational family to help your organization sprint to the fundraising end of year. Everyone needs to own their responsibility for fundraising success, and it starts with your CEO. The sands of the hourglass are continuing to fall.
Use whatever motivates your prospects to give, including tax incentives, recognition, personal satisfaction, feelings of joy through giving, and sharing of organizational stories. You will have time for a brief breather next year. December is not the time to pull back your energy and efforts. Most people are in the spirit of giving now and you need to tap their brief feeling for total success to occur. Do not waste one second of your time on activities that do not produce solid ROI (return on investment).
Make every fundraising day count in December. It will be gone before you know it.
Duke Haddad, Ed.D., CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis. He also serves as president of Duke Haddad and Associates LLC and is a freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO since 2008.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration plus a dissertation on donor characteristics. He received a master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis on public administration plus a thesis on annual fund analysis. He secured a bachelor’s degree (cum laude) with an emphasis on marketing/management. He has done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
Duke has received the Fundraising Executive of the Year Award, from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Indiana Chapter. He also was given the Outstanding West Virginian Award, Kentucky Colonel Award and Sagamore of the Wabash Award from the governors of West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana, respectively, for his many career contributions in the field of philanthropy. He has maintained a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation for three decades.