Guest Post by Jeremy Silverstein
Fundraising for your nonprofit organization occurs year-round as you build relationships with donors, host events, and ask for donations. However, research shows that almost one-third of yearly online giving occurs in December. Capitalize on generosity this holiday season as you engage donors and boost donations. Here are 10 ways you can do that.
Create a Seasonal Holiday Campaign
Deck the halls and give your seasonal donation campaign a holiday flare.
- Post a picture of a rescue dog sporting a holiday wreath.
- Bake cookies for families in need, and ask donors to sponsor a plate.
- Feature a holiday tree on your thank you cards.
Consider hosting a holiday party, too, as you engage donors and incorporate seasonal elements into your fundraising campaign.
Share Your Goals
Tell donors why you’re raising money. Will it provide school supplies to 100 kids or send 10 developmentally delayed adults to job training? Your transparency builds trust in your cause.
Donors are human, and they want to know that their money makes a difference. Why should they give to your cause?
This year, consider asking organization beneficiaries to share their stories as you get personal.
- Give donors a tour of the handicap van you purchased for client transportation.
- Showcase photos of rescue dogs with their new families.
- Ask a job-training recipient to record a video of his/her work day.
Re-Examine Your Donation Process
A cumbersome or time-consuming donation process turns away busy donors. Simplify the process with a few tips.
- Update your website so it’s mobile-friendly.
- Add a bright “donate here” button to every page.
- Make the donation forms short and sweet.
Ask for Gifts in Kind
Cash donations are always appreciated, although not everyone can give a monetary donation. Another way people can help out is with tax-deductible in-kind gifts. Examples include:
- New, unwanted electronics that you can sell online or use in your next auction fundraiser.
- Gently used office supplies that keep your organization functioning properly.
- Vehicles that are sold and turned into cash.
- Annuities or life insurance policies that continue giving,
Help Donors Give Gifts
Help your donors cross everyone off their gift-giving list when you invite them to donate in someone else’s name. On your print and online donation forms, include a box where supporters can “give a donation as a gift.”
To increase participation, create an attractive gift package. It may include a thank you note, recognition certificate, or small branded gift. As an example, donors who give $100 to your animal rescue receive a stuffed dog in a branded coffee mug.
Participate in Giving Tuesday
Started in 2012, Giving Tuesday promotes charitable holiday giving. More than 700,000 people raised $116 million in 2015.
While Giving Tuesday has passed, be sure to thank donors who participated and encourage giving throughout the month. Prepare social media posts and mailings that give donors facts, photos, and testimonials detailing your organization’s impact in the community.
Many people show generosity during the holidays. Join in and remind your donors that you’re grateful for them.
Send handwritten thank you notes to all your supporters, whether they give $10 or $1,000. Use social media, your website, and your newsletter, too, to highlight how donations make a difference for your cause. These stories and your gratitude ignite even more generosity.
Volunteers already give so much of their time to your cause, but think about asking them for financial gifts, too. Volunteers are twice as likely to give as non-donors partly because they already know and love your cause.
Of course, you’re focusing on securing year-end donations. Think ahead to next year, too.
Remember that some of your donors may not be able to give during the holidays, but they will resume giving when the new year arrives. Reach out to these donors when you share your goals for your fundraising efforts, thank them for past support, and build bridges for the future.
The holiday season provides 10 excellent ways to engage donors and increase gifts. With these tips, you can increase donations for your cause. What other ideas work for you?
Author bio: Jeremy Silverstein is Vice President of Operations and Vehicle Dispatching at Goodwill Car Donations. During his five years with the organization, Silverstein has handled tens of thousands of donated vehicles and has become an expert in the field.