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10 tips to boost your year end giving
Mike Bacon

December, 2014

Every year, studies show that one-third of all charitable giving happens in the last three months of the year.  Are you ready?  What should you be doing to secure end of year gifts?

 We’ve put together a checklist of activity for you.  Let’s go!

 1.  Stewardship is powerful.  Who are your top 10 donors this past year?  Take the time to send a handwritten note to them, sharing that you are thankful for their loyalty and passion for your mission.  Remember, this is not an ask.  It’s an opportunity to show grateful appreciation for their support.

 2.  Take 15 minutes from your next board meeting to call and thank your most generous donors.  Create a list of top supporters and their phone numbers and bring it to the Board meeting. Announce a “Thank-A-Thon” for the 15 minutes, have everyone get out their cell phones, and make your calls. 

 3.  Review your donor list from last year and identify donors who made gifts in the fall of 2013 but have not yet made a gift in 2014.  Send a special letter or even an email that notes their generosity last year and invites them to give again before year-end.

 4.  One of your scheduled direct mail appeals is likely going out this month.  Be sure to double-check your recipient list to be certain you aren’t soliciting someone who sent in a recent gift.  Donors get frustrated when they are asked for renewed support immediately after making a gift.

 5.  What else can help your donors and prospects think of you at year-end?  Does your local newspaper run a series on nonprofits and charitable causes each year?  Contact your media outlets and see if there is a way you can be featured.  Share your successes and your clients’ needs.

 6.  Send a note to former employees, thanking them for their role in the success of your organization.  Former employees, especially those who worked for your nonprofit a long time, are excellent prospects for giving.

 7.  Thank mentors who have influenced your fundraising career.  Invite them to support your current endeavor.  Explain how their expertise and advice helped you get to where you are today.

 8.  People often make gifts in honor or in memory of others during the holidays.  Create a pre-printed card for honorary/memorial gifts and send a set of five cards to your top donors.  This encourages a second gift from previous donors and becomes a very convenient way for donors to remember friends during the holidays.

 9.  If you are a Board member, consider making a gift to your nonprofit in honor of someone in your community.  They will receive notification of your gift and become aware of your passion for the nonprofit cause.  It might stimulate them to make their own gifts. 

 10.  Donors who give multiple times during the year often appreciate a summary receipt that has all their gifts listed.  Consider sending this out in January 2015 to those supporters who gave more than once in the previous calendar year.  It’s another chance for you to thank them and provide them with a useful summary receipt for their tax records.

 We hope these ideas are helpful to you as you close out your year.  By all accounts, 2014 is shaping up to be one of the strongest fundraising years on record!  Good luck!

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