Making the Most of Giving in 2019: A Year-End Checklist

Traditionally, the final quarter of the calendar year is the most generous time of the year, but how will recent tax reform changes and a slowing economy impact donors, and what should you be doing to help them make the most of their charitable giving dollars this year…and next?

Calendar year 2019 is shaping up to be another challenging year for the philanthropic sector (both fundraisers and donors alike).

For the first time in 50 years, charitable giving by living individuals slipped below 70% in 2018. Charitable giving by individuals and households depends on disposable income and assets, as well as the outlook for the future. Employment, wages and household wealth figures have held up well so far this year, but there is economic and political uncertainty on the horizon which may cause donors to tighten their purse strings. Now is the time to carefully plan your work and work your plan to achieve the best possible results for the year.

Here are some ideas to consider for fine-tuning your fundraising plans for the fall and year-end giving season:

  • Create a marketing calendar that includes plans for direct mail, events and digital strategies.
  • Don’t forget natural tie-ins with National Estate Planning Awareness Week (October 21-27, 2019), National Philanthropy Day (November 15, 2019), “Thanks for Giving”/Thanksgiving (November 28, 2019), #GivingTuesday (December 3, 2019), Giving Before December 31, etc. Consider promoting gifts of stock or gifts of cash that might be deductible under the new 60% of AGI limitation to your selected donors who have given more than a certain dollar amount and who have a designated wealth rating.
  • Target donors who are likely non-itemizers with ideas on smart ways to make gifts by bunching, boosting or bypassing itemized deductions.
  • Remind all donors age 70½ and older of the Charitable IRA provision.
  • Don’t forget to promote gifts from donor advised funds, family foundations and closely held businesses among your more affluent donors.
  • Finally, be the first to thank and acknowledge donors for their generous support in 2019 and express hope they will be able to help again in 2020. Consider creating a list of your top individual donors and provide information to help them with their gift planning throughout the new year. This might be promoted in January gift acknowledgments for donors of more than $250 with a message that they should keep the information for tax purposes, etc.

In spite of the complexities facing fundraising, the goal should be to provide your donors with a rewarding experience. Be sure to report back to them on the impact of their gifts on your mission and to thank them for their past, present and future contributions.

The time spent fine-tuning your fundraising strategies and tactics this year may help you make 2019 the best year ever for your fundraising program.

Consider using SHARPE newkirk’s new personalized Year-End Brochures in your marketing this year. Click here for details. ■

Need help with segmenting your donor base to create targeted mailings? Consider SHARPE newkirk’s Donor Data Enhancement Services. You can receive age, gender, marital status and net worth information about your donors. Ask about other ways we can enhance your data à la carte (such as Deceased Suppression, Email Append, Telephone Append or Age Append). For more information, click here or contact us: 901.680.5300 or info@SHARPEnet.com.

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