Merry and bright

by Jini Stolk

Simone Joyaux makes a strong case for abandoning frenzied year-end fundraising in favour of a carefully planned 12-month strategy involving your whole organization (although read carefully for some excellent end of year tactics.) However, I know and you know that my real and virtual mailboxes are going to be flooded with holiday donation requests in a few weeks, and who’s really to argue? Charity Navigator reports that 31% of annual giving to U.S. nonprofits last year took place in December; 12% in the last 3 days of the year.

Never underestimate people’s ability to procrastinate – and sorry if that includes you. Here are a few bits of advice to help you get through the next few weeks and meet your annual goal.

This piece by Mark Rovner and Sarah Haug of Sea Change Strategies is called A Procrastinator’s Guide to Year-End Fundraising although it’s much too thoughtful and meaty to guide you through a truly last-minute effort. But it contains some wonderful insights into email strategies, web giving and how a well-designed Donate Now web page can increase contributions. There are a few ideas here you can implement quickly, and others that you’ll want to consider, plan for, and space out over the coming year.

If you’re planning on participating in Giving Tuesday November 29, there’s a new e-book that analyzes the growing impact on nonprofits worldwide of this 24 hour give-a-thon, and provides good tips on how to make it a success for you – including free email templates to send to your donors. Classy also has a free resources pack, with 10 successful email templates along with social media templates and examples from some of last year’s most successful campaigns. Giving Tuesday Canada’s website has toolkits, guides, webinars and other resources to help you along.

Even – or especially – for year-end campaigns, if you’re able to recruit some of your board members and other supporters to help get the word out  by asking their friends and family on your behalf, all the better. You can reach beyond current donors this way – and any ask is stronger if it feels personal – and strongest (absolutely without question, whether the request is mailed or emailed) if it comes from your artistic director, a board member or your managing director.

This piece by Whitney Brimfield, written to comfort organizations that missed Giving Tuesday last year, provides pre-comfort if you know you’re not going to be able to pull it together for November 29, 2016. She reminds us that the basics are timeless – and that overall success comes from a consistent, year-round, donor-centred effort.

And Canada Helps is becoming more and more helpful. They now offer website forms (simple, easy to fill out forms that don’t frustrate prospective donors) allowing your supporters to give directly from your own website, year-round or in response to special campaigns.

So. Mazel tov. Bonne joyeux noel, and break a leg. I hope that this year’s fundraising fulfills all your hopes and dreams.

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