5 Powerful Tips for Successful Year-End Fundraising

It’s here! Another year-end fundraising season is upon us. While 2020 has been, um, let’s call it a “challenging” year, there are nevertheless some reasons to be hopeful about the potential for philanthropic giving in the closing months of the year:

Economists say that the economy is rebounding and expect growth to continue, though at a modest pace, through the end of 2020.

The unemployment rate is declining as the economy begins to cautiously reopen.

The stock market, while volatile, continues to trend upward.

Home values are increasing and sales continue their upward trend.

Giving to Donor Advised Funds is up sharply making more money available for giving from DAFs.

Consumer confidence is rebounding.

At least one analysis predicts significant growth in contributions during Giving Tuesday on Dec. 1, 2020. Another forecast predicts that charitable giving will be robust in 2020 and 2021.

While there are a number of reasons to be hopeful about year-end 2020 philanthropy, we can’t just sit back and expect the money to roll into your charity. Changes in the current environment can easily affect results, either for the good or for the bad. Bringing in more donations for your organization will require you to work hard and remain nimble.

Here are five tips to help you maximize your year-end fundraising efforts:

Ask: The easiest way to fail is to scale-back your fundraising. It’s essential for you to develop a robust fundraising plan, and then implement it. However, you need to remain flexible, and make adjustments when necessary. If your organization needs philanthropic support, don’t be bashful about asking for it.

Case for Support: While it’s vitally important to ask for support, you need to keep in mind that neither Giving Tuesday nor December 31 are reasons why someone should donate to your organization. So, make sure you have an inspiring case for support that will encourage people to give. The more you can show people the impact their gift will have, the more likely they will be to contribute.

Know Your Audience: In addition to appealing to individuals, be sure to also appeal to foundations and corporations, taking into account their review calendars. Do not make giving decisions for anyone. In other words, do not assume someone will not donate for whatever reason. Let them decide for themselves. The current economic environment has affected different people and organizations in different ways. Some individuals are experiencing hardship because they’ve been laid off while others have remained employed throughout the pandemic. As the stock market has gone up, many foundation investment portfolios have also increased in value. In addition, many foundations have pledged to increase giving because of the pandemic. While many businesses have been hurt in the current environment, with many even closing, many others have experienced record high-profits. Learn who your prospects are, and then make sure they hear from you.

Planned Giving: Not all planned gifts are deferred gifts. Strong stock market performance means many, if not most, of your donors own appreciated stocks. Let them know they can avoid capital gains tax by donating such securities to your organization. Some of your prospects have established a DAF. Be sure to remind them that they can recommend a gift to your charity. Also, remember that many of your prospects can contribute from their IRA; be sure to remind them. Make sure your website has instructions for how donors can easily make a planned gift to your organization.

Thank Donors: In addition to putting in place a sound fundraising plan, make sure you also have a strong stewardship plan as well. When you properly thank your donors, you’ll help set the stage for stronger giving in 2021. Be sure to thank donors promptly. Let them know the impact their gifts will have. And thank donors for who they are and not just what they’ve given. For example, rather than thanking someone for her generous gift, thank her for being a generous person who cared enough to give.

Here are some older, still relevant posts that will provide you with lots of additional useful tips to help you be successful as the end of the year approaches:

While your year-end fundraising success is not guaranteed, the signs provide ample reasons for optimism. With hard work, flexibility, and focus, you’ll be able to achieve the best possible fundraising results.

That’s what Michael Rosen says… What do you say?

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