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5 Tips for Holiday Fundraising

Believe it or not, the holidays are upon us, and the new year is on its way!  In a study conducted by Charity Navigator, it was reported that, on average, charities receive 41% of their annual contributions in the last few weeks of the year.  That’s almost half of their annual contributions!

There are a number of reasons why a donor might contribute more during the holidays.  For one it’s the end of the year and they're trying get in those donations before the tax year ends.  Remember, in order to write off a donation, it needs to be made before January 1st of the new tax year.  There is also a feeling of greater generosity and altruism during the holiday season.  People are more likely to donate if they’re feeling charitable anyway.  Lastly, donors might contribute more during this season because they receive timely solicitations asking them for funds.  Many charities realize the importance of giving at the holidays, so they time entire fundraising initiatives for the last few weeks of the year.

Whatever the reason, it would be silly not to amp up your fundraising efforts during the holidays, given the reported trends.  Here are some tips and tools to use for your year-end fundraising.

  • Plan ahead. It’s always best to approach your donors before they begin purchasing gifts.  Get your ask out by Dec. 1st in order to give your donors ample time to budget for their contribution.  Don’t wait until Dec. 29th to ask for these donations!

  • Offer creative gift options for your donors.  Give your donors the option to contribute on behalf of another person as a gift to that person.  In these situations, be ready to send a thank you to the donor as well as a nice holiday card to the gift recipient.

  • Make sacrifices. You know that book that you received as a gift, but now it sits on your bookshelf?  Why not ask for donations instead of items as gifts?  It’ll benefit both you and your donor, as well as your audiences, and it’s sure to be used.

  • Throw a party! Not only is this the season of spending, it’s also the season of celebrating with the people in your life.  Plan a fundraising party and invite all of your collaborators and your past (and future) donors.  It’s a great way to show your appreciation for everyone who helped make your activities a reality throughout the year.  Don’t forget to set up that “Donation Station!”  You never know when the festivities will inspire new donations.

  • Run a holiday themed online campaign, or even just a short-term campaign that lasts for only a few weeks at the end of the year.  In the same study, Charity Navigator found that, on average, charities received around 13% of their annual contributions through online tools, but some charities reported receiving as much as 95% of their annual contributions through online tools in the last few weeks of the year.  Additionally, Crowdfunding continues to grow in importance in our society.  It is a great way to reach a large number of people in the season that they are most likely to give.

Be sure to mind your manners and keep your other fundraising methods in mind (i.e. don't forget to thank your donors!), but most importantly, have fun!  This is a great opportunity for you to not only raise funds, but also to continue to develop a personal relationship with your donors.

Happy Holidays!