December Donations most productive fundraising

December Donations most productive fundraising 

December Donations

With Christmas just around the corner, is your organization ready to make the most of a traditionally generous season, or are you hoping to simply weather the onslaught of holiday demands? An estimated 30 to 40 percent of all yearly donations are given in December. What a fantastic opportunity for your organization! Be ready for the potentially most productive fundraising of the year.

December Donations most productive fundraising
December Donations most productive fundraising 

First, raise awareness for your cause or organization during this time of year, when people feel compassionate and generous. People will not give to an organization unless they know its name and purpose. Get your name out there in whatever way works best for your organization. Certainly, use methods that have worked well in the past, but be willing to think outside the box to try new things as well. Make a special holiday page for your website, or print a new brochure targeted to those in the Christmas spirit. One-third of your donations for the year is definitely worth extra publicity effort.

While crafting your year-end appeal, think carefully about your audience and what would motivate them to give to your specific organization. In her blog "In the Words of Charlie Brown," Pamela Grow recommends keeping year-end appeals "donor-centric." In other words, your givers appreciate a letter that relates to them. For example, use the real name of the givers who donated to you in the past in the greeting of your letter. Thank your givers for previous donations and report how effective or beneficial their contribution was. Making the donation, and hence the donor, seem important encourages the giver to continue impacting with your organization.

Similar to personally thanking givers for their past contributions, share your organization's goals for next year in a way that highlights the giver. In "5 Last-Minute Creative Ideas for Fundraising," Geoff Livingston advocates including potential givers in your vision for 2012 in a variety of ways. Your appeal should focus on appreciating whatever the giver has to offer, whether that takes the form of cash donations, volunteer time, or presenting your organization to a new group of people. Explain what opportunities exist for people to help you, even if they do not have extra funds to give you.

Finally, be prepared to print and mail out donation receipts for all your year-end donations. The last chance for 2011 tax-deduction may be a driving force in the December influx of contributions; do not disappoint these practical donors by procrastinating this important task. After such generous contributions, substantiating your givers' donations is your responsibility. Donation receipts are a convenient way to acknowledge and thank your givers, whether the IRS requires it in your particular case or not.

Break out the Santa hats and pelt out the carols! This could be your organization's best December ever. With invigorated publicity, donor-centric appeals, and receipt preparation, your organization is not only set for Christmas but also on the right track for next year.


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