FYI: Year-End Campaigns
The end of the calendar year is a season of philanthropy. The spirit of giving from the holidays, final tallies for end-of-year profits for businesses and corporations, and tax considerations for individuals and businesses make the final months of the year an excellent time for nonprofit organizations to make a strategic push for contributions. According to Network for Good, nearly 30 percent of all charitable giving occurs in December, and 10 percent of all gifts are made in the last three days of the year.
So how can your organization benefit? It all starts with a methodical plan and the right elements to spell success for your education foundation.
Your first step will be to analyze data from your current donors. Who typically gives at the end of the year? Who did not have resources available at the first of the year but encouraged you to follow up? Who made a pledge that has not yet been fulfilled? Who are your lapsed donors? Who has already given a large amount during the year and will not need to be approached again?
If your education foundation set a fundraising goal for the year and has not met that goal yet, your year-end campaign will need to focus on meeting that dollar amount. You can market your campaign accordingly: “Help the Ultimate ISD Education Foundation reach our 2019 goal!”
Once you’ve analyzed the data of your current donors, you will also want to make plans to target potential donors. With the support of your board members, identify potential donors who have a vested interest in the success of your education foundation’s mission and goals. Who are the stakeholders in your district and community?
From your compiled list of current and potential donors, you will develop your mailing list in various forms. Plan to market your campaign through multiple avenues to ensure reach to your donors and potential donors. You will need to utilize:
By using multiple avenues to reach donors, you will also need well-crafted marketing materials and the support of your board members and volunteers to execute your plan of action. Be sure to develop a solicitation letter for each method of approach. Your solicitation letter for a direct mailing will look differently than your solicitation via email.
What time frame should you schedule your year-end campaign? #GivingTuesday is often considered the launch for year-end giving and campaigns. #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. The date this year is December 3, 2019. Resources including a toolkit and logo for #GivingTuesday are available at givingtuesday.org. Utilizing #GivingTuesday, create a calendar of dates to send direct mail, email and create social media posts for your campaign. Be sure to consider the holidays when scheduling your direct mail and expected delivery date. If you plan to make a large push specifically for #GivingTuesday, be sure to create a calendar that allows enough time for your donors and potential donors to receive your solicitation and reminders prior to December 3rd. Your mailings should begin in November.
Your board members and volunteers are vital to the success of the campaign. Follow-ups on direct mail, phone calls to donors, and promotion through social media will be critical to reaching your fundraising goal.
Be sure to have a system in place to send donation receipts and thank you’s in a timely manner. If you do not utilize a donor management system that can automatically send a receipt and acknowledgment letter, make sure tax receipts are provided to donors by mail or email as quickly as possible.
Remember according to the IRS, a donor is responsible for obtaining a written acknowledgment from a charity for any single contribution of $250 or more before a donor can claim a charitable contribution on his/her federal income tax return; a charitable organization is required to provide a written disclosure to a donor who receives good or services in exchange for a single payment in excess of $75.
Thanking your donors for gifts at every level to end the year is critical to stewardship and cultivating repeat donors. Hand-written thank you’s still go a long way with donors as do phone calls. Have a system in place with a designated group of volunteers or board members responsible for thanking your donors.
Creating a successful year-end campaign all comes down to strategy, execution and stewardship. The clock is ticking! Start planning your year-end campaign today. For additional information or support services for fundraising and campaigns, contact Foundation Innovation at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 512.535.2046.