3 Last-Minute Tips for Bringing in Year-End Gifts



If you’ve been thinking it’s too late to bring in money for your mission in 2014, take heart (and action!). According to Network for Good’s Digital Giving Index, 10% of annual giving occurs on the last 3 days of the year. And donors are more generous these last days, with average gift sizes increasing by as much as 50%! 

I encourage you to use the next 10 days to try one (or all three!) of these last minute tips to connect with your donors and boost your fundraising results for this calendar year.

iMAGE SOURCE: www1.networkforgood.org/digitalgivingindex

iMAGE SOURCE: www1.networkforgood.org/digitalgivingindex

1.  Call Your Soon-to-Lapse Donors

If you have donors who have not yet given in 2014 (and I suspect you do), give these folks a call now. If this list of donors who’ve not yet renewed their gift has too many names to tackle before December 31, you can either: 

1) Focus on the donors you know best or those who have given most generously in the past, or 2) Get some help! Engage your board, other volunteers, other staff, or anyone who is passionate about the good work your nonprofit is doing.

What to say when you call? First, thank the person for their past support (donations, volunteering, attending event, etc.). Say it’s fantastic – and so appreciated – that they are doing this. Ask what led them to donate in the first place. Donors enjoy talking about their connection to your organization – and you’ll learn a ton about what motivates and inspires them!

Say, “Thanks to people like you, we’ve been able to (fill in whatever your impact is). We are asking people to increase their gift by XX amount. In the past you’ve given YY amount. How much would you like to give today?”

2. Send More Emails

If you’ve sent only one email appeal to your donors so far this month, it’s not enough. You want to stay top of mind with your donors! Let’s face it, we all receive too many emails. Think about your own inbox and how many emails either don’t receive a reply or (gasp!) are never even opened. 

The optimal number of email solicitations a nonprofit should send is up for debate. But on this late date, I recommend sending 3 more emails to your list this month:  one today (or tomorrow), the second on December 29 and the third on December 31. 

What should these emails say? If your software allows, start your emails with “Dear (first name).” Whenever possible, avoid “Dear Friend.”

Then focus on your donor and how their support makes a huge impact at your organization. You might say, “Students need you,” or “Dogs need you,” or “The Arkansas River needs you,” or whatever your mission addresses. Include a photo and a large Donate Now button.

Your subject line is arguably the most important part of the email. If your email doesn’t get opened, all of your compelling and well-written copy won’t be seen. I like to use the words “you” or “your” in a subject line. For a list of specific ideas, check out 300 More Email Subject Lines from End of Year Fundraising from npEngage.

3. Make it Easy to Give! 

If your IT system allows you to quickly and easily change up your website and online giving procedures, now is a good time to review this giving channel. Be sure it’s easy for donors to give! Too many nonprofits make their donors explore every nook and cranny of their website just to find the donation page. 

If you don’t have one, add a large “Donate Now” button to your homepage. Some savvy nonprofits change their entire homepage to a solicitation page for the month of December. If you go this route, be sure this page’s branding and theme matches other asking materials you’ve sent (letters, emails, brochures, etc.).

Do you require the absolute minimum personal information you need to process an online gift? The more boxes you ask your donors to complete, the less likely it is they’ll complete the transaction. 

A final bit of advice… Go to your own website and approach it with fresh eyes. Make a $5 donation and see if it feels easy or hard. Better yet, ask a friend or family member to make an online gift and report back to you. If the donation experience feels too challenging, change what you can to make it easy!

What other last minute tips would you suggest? Please share in the comments box below.

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