Throughout 2020, Americans have revealed the depth of their generosity, giving to causes crucial to surviving the impacts of the pandemic and organizations that matter to them. However, the economic crisis impacted many donors’ ability to give, and continued economic uncertainty could impact giving into next year.
October, November and December are traditionally the three busiest months for fundraisers. Although nothing about this year has been traditional, nonprofits can expect the typical increase in giving driven by the holiday season and the end of the tax year. Therefore, an effective 2020 year-end campaign is especially important for many organizations’ financial well-being for next year and beyond.
With less than three months remaining in 2020, now is the time to ramp up communications. A well-executed year-end campaign requires preparation and proper planning. In a year unlike any other, messaging and timing are critical to the success of your campaign. Here are some tips and strategies:
- Tie in holidays and national events like Giving Tuesday but be aware that your message can also get lost so close to an election.
- An effective year-end campaign usually includes a targeted mailing as well as other means of communication. Send donors brochures, postcards, inserts in scheduled mass appeals or newsletters that detail ways to give this year. Utilize your website for fundraising and provide detailed information about giving to your organization. Be sure that your website is easy to read, user-friendly and up to date, especially for donors who choose not to give via an online portal. Your website should clearly outline ways to give, how to give and who to contact.
- Cash gifts are a key component of most year-end campaigns. Your messaging should include the advantages of cash gifts in 2020 due to the charitable provisions of the CARES Act. Remind your donors that mailed checks should be postmarked by December 31 or direct them to your online giving portal for a quick and simple gift.
- Traditional cash donors may be open to other giving options. Include communications that highlight the benefits of noncash gifts like stocks or mutual funds and making a qualified charitable distribution through a retirement plan. This year’s events have caused many donors to create or revisit their estate plans, presenting a great opportunity to inform your donor base how they can include your organization in a will, trust or other plans.
- Thanking your donors is an important step in any giving campaign. Sending an email, making a call or writing a letter thanking a donor can go a long way towards building a relationship. However you choose to thank your donors, be sure to provide insight on how their donation will help your organization by explaining your past year’s accomplishments and goals for the upcoming year. Following-up with donors is also an opportunity to suggest other beneficial ways to give that increase income, provide for others, reduce taxes or memorialize a loved one.
Whatever your campaign and messaging strategies, the time for year-end communications is now. If we can be of assistance with your year-end planning or in any other way, please contact us.
By Jana Lawyer, Senior Consultant
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