As the charitable giving season approaches, you might be wondering how your nonprofit can make the biggest impact possible.
If you’re new to the whole nonprofit world, let’s review the basics: what, exactly, is “Giving Season”?
“Giving Season” in the nonprofit community refers to the last few months of the year, when donors are encouraged to give more generously than during the rest of the year. December is, on average, the month where nonprofits receive the majority of their donations. In fact, December 30th and 31st are the biggest giving days of the year! (NCCS)
So… that’s all well and good, but what exactly is your nonprofit supposed to be doing to make the most of this collective charitable spirit?
Check out these top 4 tips about things your nonprofit should know this giving season:
1. Ask donors to fund something specific, instead of asking for general donations.
A lot of nonprofits will do an “End of Year Giving Campaign” on a platform such as GoFundMe or Kickstarter.
(If you’re new to crowdfunding, here’s the basic idea: you set up a free online campaign that tells your nonprofit’s story, add some pictures, set a fundraising goal, finish it with a brightly-colored “Donate” button, and send the link to everyone you know asking them to contribute.)
But here’s where most nonprofits go wrong: they ask people for general donations to the nonprofit, instead of asking them to help fund something specific.
Although every dollar that goes towards your nonprofit is surely well-spent, the truth is that nobody really wants to fund your nonprofit’s electric bill. They want to help feed the hungry, save animals, and educate children in need. Whatever mission your nonprofit is passionate about, that’s what you should be highlighting in your campaign.
Remember, be as specific as possible in your ask for donations! “Your donation of $50 will cover the cost of 10 books for the children in our after-school reading program” is a better ask then “Your donation will help further our mission of improving children’s literacy.” Keep it simple, but direct.
2. Keep the momentum going with percent-to-goal updates.
It’s important to keep your donors informed and engaged throughout the giving season. If you’re pushing a big fundraising campaign, don’t let people forget about it! There are multiple channels your nonprofit can use to get the word out there, such as email marketing, Google ads, and Facebook event pages. It’s also important to be transparent about where you are in reaching your goal. If you only have a week left of your campaign and you’re still 20% away from your goal, tell people! Numbers speak loudly to donors, so track your progress and use it to your advantage.
3. Thank the donors who have already given
Just because you’re always targeting new donors doesn’t mean you can forget about the ones you already have. This Giving Season, make sure you’re taking the time to reach out and thank the people who have supported your nonprofit— whether that’s by email, phone call, or even a handwritten card.
You can let them know about big accomplishments your nonprofit has achieved this year, or tell them about the programs you’re most excited about for the upcoming year. Whatever you decide to highlight, make sure you express gratitude for their help in achieving your goals. (Remember, donors who feel appreciated are donors who keep giving year after year.)
4. Consider hosting an End of Year event or gala
Although we live in a digital world, you can only get so far with online fundraising campaigns. There is value in meeting your donors face-to-face, shaking their hand, and letting them know (in-person) who you are and how much you appreciate them. Be sure to tell them stories of the impact they are helping to make. If hosting a gala seems daunting, don’t worry; there are plenty of ways you can get donors engaged without hosting a huge, expensive event. You could partner with a local movie theatre and host a holiday movie night, with a percentage of ticket sales donated to the nonprofit. Or how about a New Years Eve party with VIP tickets and a raffle for local goods?
It doesn’t have to be a large event, but inviting your friends, family, and community members to a fun event can go a long way in maximizing your end of year fundraising efforts.
Wishing your nonprofit the best of luck this Giving Season!