While it might be end of July, it’s not too early to start thinking about year-end fundraising and communications. I know what you’re probably thinking. The weather’s still warm. Colleagues and donors alike are on vacation. The kids are out of school. Why put your head down and work now? Well, the fact remains that the best way to avoid the stress that can come with the year-end fundraising season is to plan NOW!
The Segment of Donors to Focus On
Year-end fundraising is a unique beast. You’ll experience an influx of first time donors who are genuinely excited to give to your organization, or are donating because their accountant told them to. Additionally, you’ll also receive gifts from current donors that I call the “December only donors.” They lump all of their charitable activity into one gift at the end of the year.
Now this second group, “December only donors,” is a group that can easily fall through the stewardship cracks at any organization. Your goal is to encourage their once a year gift (and hopefully at an increase), while doing your best to ensure that you don’t just look to them as an ATM once a year.
3 Actions to Take Now
Since no one wants to be treated like an ATM and you want to retain your donors this year, one of the best things you can do between August and October is to steward this group – with no asks – like there’s no tomorrow!
With that in mind, here are three actions you can take to steward the “December only donors” before they make their gift this year.
Send them an accountability report. Your annual report focuses on the broad strokes of what your organization has accomplished, but drilling down a level to just look at one program or service and its impact is a great way to show donors what they’ve helped make possible. Include photos and stories, or maybe make it digital and send it to donors via email.
Tell them a story. Who doesn’t love to hear a good story?! Stories communicate the impact of your non-profit’s programs and services on the cause you serve. It’s by far the best way to “connect the dots” for donors to show them what they’ve been a part of.
Call them to say thank you and to share an update. Sometimes, there’s nothing more meaningful that just a simply call to say thanks and share an update from your non-profit. It’s a deeply personal action that shows that you’ve really gone out of your way to think about the person you’ve called. If you’ve got a long list, organize a group of volunteer and fellow staff members to help out and write them a simple script to use.
Leave a comment: What action do you plan to take to steward your “December only donors”?