This post comes from the Gravyty Fundraising Academy, a series that examines how fundraisers adapt and strategize to evolve what's possible through philanthropy.
Your guide for the Gravyty Fundraising Academy is Director of Customer Success, Lisa Alvezi. Lisa has worked with countless fundraisers across Higher Education, Health Care, and Nonprofit organizations to transform fundraising. As a former frontline fundraiser herself, her goal is to help you see better results from your fundraising efforts.
Just two weeks remain to engage with donors and prospective donors to ask them for a calendar year-end gift. With Giving Tuesday already in the past, it is clear that it should be only a part of your organization’s year-end giving strategy. On average, 18% of an organization’s total annual gifts are received in December alone!
Back in March and April grants from donor advised funds jumped 58%, and DonorsTrust President & CEO Lawson Bader took notice. He predicted that 2020 may be the biggest year for giving ever on record, and I'm inclined to agree. Donors understand the need for support during this worldwide health and economic crisis and have stepped up all year.
But there's balancing act between communicating your organization’s needs to your supporters and “over asking” that creates donor burnout. Your year-end communications should be segmented based on the types of donors. Here's how I would break it down:
You likely saw a number of new donors during Giving Tuesday, and they should receive separate messaging. Thank them for their critical support and let them know the impact their gift will have on your organization and the people it serves. Existing donors that gave should be thanked for their continuing support. The potential third category of Giving Tuesday donors are those who decreased their gift this year. Ideally, a personalized contact with these donors would be best. During that interaction, you may be able to glean information about the reason for the reduced gift – job loss, health concerns, support of other organizations over yours, etc. A personalized outreach shows the donor that they are more than a number to your organization and that you care about their personal situations.
LYBUNTS should be your next group to contact. Donors should receive a personalized email from a specific fundraiser. The email would thank the donor for past support and let them know to expect a call in the few days.
SYBUNTS have shown an affinity to your organization in the past. It’s always easier to receive a gift from someone who has supported your organization previously. Again, a personalized email with a follow up phone call in the next few days is most effective. For these phone calls, fundraisers must be ready to make a direct ask for a gift and be willing to take credit card information at that time. Have a dollar amount in mind that is the same, if not higher, than the donor’s last gift.
While people are working from home, donors can be contacted by more than just frontline fundraisers. Events staff, administration, and other departments should be recruited to thank donors for past support and ask for a year-end gift. The entire should be trained on what to communicate to your donors on why their gifts matters and the impact they have if this is not already part of your fundraising strategy.
Another source to tap during this crucial giving month is volunteers. Are there people who support your organization who would be willing to ask others to join their support? Volunteer board members should be utilized for higher capacity donors who have yet to make a year-end gift. These are the donors that are usually very flattered that a board member would reach out to them.
In most organizations, the effort on bringing in year-end gifts is shared by many people outside the usual frontline fundraisers. Having a plan in place to reach as many past donors as feasible using appropriate messaging maximizes your December gifts.
If you’d like to learn more about how artificial intelligence can empower your organization to have a culture of philanthropy, personally reach new donors, and inspire giving at scale, click the button below and let's connect.