New Year’s Eve is just over three weeks away, but you still have time to raise more money for your nonprofit this year.
More donations are given to charity at this time of year than another other time, so it’s not time to rest yet. As a development professional, your chance for vacation comes after New Years, not during “busy season.” However, even if you go away on January first, you’ll want someone in the office working on acknowledgment letters while you’re away.
6 Tips to Raise Last Minute Money Before the Year-End
1. Call your top 20 individual donors.
You know the 90/10 rule, don’t you?
Ninety percent of your donations come from ten percent of your donors. Treat your top donors like the VIP’s that they are. It’s never too late to start building a relationship with them or to thank them. Call to give them a year-end update about all the great things your program accomplished and emphasize the important role they played in that process. If nothing else, wish them a happy holiday season and a healthy New Year.
Thanking your donors, keeping in touch, and providing them with meaningful updates will impact your bottom line in two important ways. First, it is more expensive to acquire a new donor than it is to retain one. Second, repeat donors often give more than first time donors, so keeping your donors will be exponentially more valuable to your organization in the long run than constantly replacing former donors with new ones.
2. Call your top 10 foundation funders.
If you do this, I guarantee you’ll stand out in the crowd. Treat your foundation funders with the same thoughtfulness and respect that you would an individual donor. Foundation staff are people too. They need to be thanked, acknowledged and kept informed.
3. Follow up on your appeal letter.
Do you have lapsed donors – donors from last year that have not yet responded to this year’s appeal?
Call them, send them an email or a follow up letter. Do not sit around and assume that they will remember to make a donation this year. Many people need a reminder.
4. Make sure your online donation system is in good working order.
I know I am not alone when I am frantically making donations at 9 p.m. on New Year’s Eve before going out for the night. Although I hate to admit it, last year, I was one of those people sitting at my computer making donations at the last minute.
Unfortunately, there were two charities that I would have given to, but they didn’t accept donations online, and I didn’t make them. I hope I can do better this year, but if not, I hope those charities have gotten with the times, so I can support them, even if I’m doing it in the last hour.
5. Prepare acknowledgments in advance and have them ready to go out ASAP.
Don’t leave this until after you return from vacation. It’s important to have thank you letters out within one week of the donation arriving in your office. Set up systems now to save time later.
6. Don’t close the office between Christmas and New Year’s.
I don’t want to sound like a scrooge, but this is your business and your busy season. Make sure you’re available to answer questions and accept donations from donors up until the last minute.
I’ve been in the office on December 31st when a donor unexpectedly arrived with stock certificates. If I had not been there to receive them, he might have gone to another charity.
More Year-End Giving Resources
For more great information on year-end giving, see the following related blog posts:
- 8 Questions to Answer Before Year-End Giving
- How to Pull in Last Minute Online Donors
- 13 Secrets of Holiday Fundraising Online
What other tips can you think of to raise more money at the end of the year?
Share your thoughts in the comments.