There are less than 50 days remaining in this year, and it’s not too late to finish it with a bang.
The holiday season is the start of the most charitable time of the year. Donors give big bucks during December. It’s the time they are writing those last-minute checks to maximize their tax breaks. This is why you need to be a nonprofit organization with a tax-exempt status from the IRS.
If you want to get the most funds you can, then you need to be preparing your strategy to inspire your donors to give. The year is almost complete, so this is the best time to create a compelling story that demonstrates what your organization has been doing all year.
The reason those sad TV commercials featuring poor kids from another country or stray animals that need to be rescued are so successful is because they tell a compelling story. They give the viewer a reason to give.
You may not feed starving kids or save stray animals, but the work you do makes a huge difference in your community. Tell that story.
Donors like to see where their money is going. In particular, who is benefiting from it.
So, if you don’t have your end of year strategy in place, let me give you some ideas of things you can do.
- Create a quasi-annual report highlighting what you’ve done this year. The main thing you want to show is who you’ve been serving and how your program has impacted their lives. Use good pictures and the most compelling data. Show how many kids/families/people you’ve served or impacted.
It doesn’t need to be a formal report. The key thing is to demonstrate the difference you’ve made. Demonstrate how this wouldn’t have been possible if your organization were not around. You can also share powerful testimonials of people you’ve helped. The testimonials should be in their words, and include a picture of them to help bring their story to life. It makes them real to the donor.
- Send a thank you letter to your current donors – both large and small. Reiterate your appreciation of their financial support and share the highlights of what you’ve been able to accomplish this year. Make the letter personal. Have the CEO and/or Executive Director sign it. Thank you letters are more impactful if you send them by regular mail instead of email. Include an attachment with a one pager (newsletter format; can be front and back) that includes great pictures that tell your story.
You don’t have to make an official ask for money in the letter, but you can include a donation envelope. This will prompt them to give if they are so inclined.
- Create a simple e-blast that you send electronically. This can be a combination of the annual report and the thank you letter. In this format, you don’t have to make a direct ask. But make sure you have a visible “donate” button that allows them to give. If you’re a nonprofit organization without a website that allows people to give online, you are doing yourself a tremendous disservice.
A colleague of mine who is a professional fundraiser describes his job as providing potential donors an opportunity to give. These simple strategies allow you to provide your donors that same opportunity.
Finally, don’t over think it. Keep it simple. But make it personal.
Remember, time is of the essence, so get started now.
Until next time…
Peace & Blessings!