[12 Months of Year-End Giving] February: Research Giving Patterns

Everybody tells you that year-end giving is a year-long process. But has anybody ever outlined it for you? Probably not.

It’s just one of those statements nonprofit professionals like to make.

Heck, we’ve even made that statement.

Last month, we talked about the brainstorming session you should have had to figure out what you liked and didn’t like about your year-end appeal, and what you saw from other organizations. If you haven’t done that, do it now before proceeding. If so, you’re ready to move onto February’s year-end task.

February’s Year-End Task

This month, the research continues, only in a different way. In January, we talked about finding out why your donors gave. This month, find out how they’d like to give.

Different people operate in different ways. Some folks like to give solely at the end of the year. They don’t like to be bothered the other 364 days. Others would rather you automatically withdraw a set amount from their bank account each month.

So, let’s find out how they like to give. Now, I know you’ll have some questions. Let’s answer those.

“But, Lyndsey—there isn’t enough time to find out!”

Okay it’s mid-February. Just because this is your tip for February doesn’t mean you actually have to do it this minute. If you’re worried about sending another communication because you just asked them for something, wait until you feel enough time has passed. Put it as an option on your next mailing or ask for feedback in an email marketing campaign.

Also, I hate to break it to you, but there’s never enough time in the day. Some things simply must be prioritized. Tough world, isn’t it?

“Ok, fine…what should we ask?”

  • How often do your donors like to give? Monthly, yearly or sporadically?
  • How do your donors like to give? Online? Writing a check? In-person?
  • What improvements to your organization would make them even more invested?

Keep it short. You can glean a ton of insight without boring your donors. You can even acquire this information over a longer period of time. However you do it, make sure you do it.

“What’s the bottom line here?”

Why is it that people say year-end giving lasts year-round? Let’s say you throw out an ask at the end of the year. Sure, you’ll get some response; especially from people who truly care about your cause. But it’s true that the more time you put into something, the more you get out.

Do your research. Take the time to find out what your donors like. Then, crazy idea here—actually do it.

January: Brainstorm the Good and Bad

February: Research Giving Patterns

March: Coming Soon

giving patterns

Lyndsey Hrabik

Lyndsey is a former editor for Nonprofit Hub and Nonprofit Hub Magazine. She now serves as a guest contributor, writing on topics such as social media, technology, marketing and starting a nonprofit.

February 18, 2016

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