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Reduce End of Year Panic, Plan Today!

Updated: Sep 8, 2020

This year, 2020, has been tumultuous, to say the least, but we are a little over halfway through. For most nonprofits, this year has been one of uncertainty and for many, insecurity. We have pushed through keeping focus on our mission, working from home, and adapting our programs as best as we can. As we push towards the last quarter of the year, nonprofits all over the country continue to innovate their fundraising techniques and adapt to grant writing during the COVID19 pandemic. We are in awe at how amazing, creative, and powerful our industry is, but we cannot stop yet, because it’s time to start preparing for the end of year asks.

We understand how stressful and overwhelming that can sound but strategizing early can reduce panic during the last quarter. Read below for our recommendations for end of year planning.

Don’t Underestimate Your Competition

Competition is fierce for donor dollars at the end of the year. This is something that you are probably aware of but this year we expect that to be even more intense. In a normal year, you probably aim to have an end of year appeal in donor’s mailboxes no later than Black Friday. This year though it may be wise to start crafting your narrative early. Consider beginning to build your case for support in September and October through emails and social media.

You’ve Made a Difference – Share it

Your nonprofit has made a difference this year, why not start gathering stories now and focus on how crucial your services have been during what is hands down, our country’s and your community’s biggest time of need. Do not shy away from talking about the unique challenges that your organization has faced during the pandemic but keep the focus on the great strides that you have made to adapt and continue to help.

Use Giving Tuesday to Your Benefit

Coming up on Tuesday, December 1st – don’t let Giving Tuesday go to waste. It main seem inconvenient or like a low return on investment, but you can leverage a day like Giving Tuesday, especially this year, to officially kick off your end of year giving campaign. There is no need for anything extravagant, but it might be wise to plan a small crowdfunding campaign with a very attainable goal or introduce your end of year campaign. Several emails stretched over a few days before, on the day of, and a thank you email on the day after is sufficient, especially when supported by some specially crafted social media posts.

Don’t Dismiss Direct Mail

While direct mail can be costly, it needs to remain in your toolbox this year. To cut cost, you might decide to determine your best prospects and only send to them while using email to target small donors or those who may not have given before. The most important thing will be to employ a personal approach with a direct ask, while showing donors that you are being thrifty with their dollars.

Don’t Underestimate a Phone Call

While we believe that this is necessary multiple times a year with large donors, don’t let this crucial step fall through the cracks. Your donors, especially your large donors, want to hear from you. Call them sooner than later. Consider a third and fourth quarter call. If they have donated recently, let them know the difference that their dollars have made in keeping your mission alive. If they have lapsed, have a friendly conversation with them and let them know the good work your organization has been doing during the pandemic. Be empathetic if they are unable to give, offer to send them deliverables to fundraise on social media, and let them know that they remain an important part of your organization.

Consider Hosting a Group Call for Smaller Donors

People who are unable to give monetarily now or who normally volunteer, still need to know their value in your organization, maybe even more so than usual. Consider scheduling a call-in meeting where the executive director can fill in those donors and volunteers on the health of your organization. This may seem like an imposition, but organizations that make this sort of effort retain more of their donor and volunteer base than organizations that are less proactive.

Don’t Give Up

This year has been hard, no doubt, but when an effort is put into planning and preparation, it is possible to greatly reduce the stress on yourself and your team which might be still working virtually and/or homeschooling. A solid strategy and proper delegation can help you execute a successful end of year giving campaign and put you on a good path into the new year.

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