When It’s Down to the Wire (Last-Minute Ways to Boost Year-End Giving)

This article originally ran in our Nonprofit Hub Magazine, a free bi-monthly magazine dedicated to providing focused content on a particular topic.

In our September/October 2014 edition, we explored year-end giving. To reserve your free copy of our next issue, sign up today


It’s not over till it’s over.

Year-end fundraising doesn’t stop once you drop your last appeal for 2014. There are ways to woo donors and solicit donations all the way up to the last day of the year—and because people are in a charitable mood as well as looking for tax breaks, your last-minute efforts may reap big benefits.

Stick these ideas in your back pocket for the last few weeks of December and take advantage of the season’s goodwill. Here are three ways to finish the year strong.

Send out a reminder.

By the middle of December, you’ve already sent out your year-end appeal. That’s the time to throw out a reminder. Many donors procrastinate, so a message between Christmas and New Year’s might be the nudge they need. Use email and social media to continue to promote your cause and keep your organization top of mind. People are busy these last few weeks of December. They may appreciate the gentle reminder to get their year-end donations in before the 31st.

Make a compelling ask, even in your reminder.

Establish an emotional connection right away that tells donors why they should care about your cause and what tangible difference their gifts will make. They may have noticed your year-end appeals but not taken the time to really engage. A compelling reminder can be as effective as a compelling ask.

Make sure your online donation form is perfect.

When’s the last time you interacted with your form as a donor? Try it now. It should be easy to find, quick to use and full of security assurances. People are more likely to donate if they know it’s safe and simple. You may even want to ask a “technically challenged” friend to make a donation. Could she do it easily? If not, reevaluate your form.

Call every corporate partner who hasn’t given in the last 12 months.

Year-end is a great time to call corporate partners who haven’t made a gift yet in the calendar year. They often have better vision to their own income and profitability by the end of the year, and might be able to give even more than they have in the past.

And last but certainly not least, thank quickly and graciously.

Send out the receipt and a sincere thank you instantly. The number one irritation of donors is lack of gratitude or information about how their gift is being used. ‘Tis the season to ask for money, but it’s also a season to give thanks.


Lisa Thompson

November 6, 2014

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