Fundraisers know that the final three months of the year are often the busiest. Recent studies have indicated that many nonprofits receive up to half of their gifts between October and December (see “’Tis the Season to Give,” Give & Take, November 2015). Keeping this in mind, mark your calendar now with the following opportunities to educate and motivate your donors before year-end.
National Estate Planning Awareness Week – October 17-23, 2016 – Some studies suggest that more than half of all Americans have no up-to-date estate plan in place. While this week of awareness is not traditionally thought of as an opportunity to ask for gifts, many fundraisers leverage this national exposure to inform donors how their estate plans can support those missions they are most passionate about. It’s an opportunity to be a valuable resource to your donors and begin the gift planning conversation.
National Philanthropy Day – November 15, 2016 – Many organizations use this day to thank donors, share ways to give and spread awareness about the importance of giving.
#GivingTuesday – November 29, 2016 – This initiative is now in its fifth year and comes on the heels of increased holiday season spending on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, days when many consumers do much of their holiday shopping in stores and online.
December 31 is the deadline for making tax-deductible charitable gifts, and responses to both online and traditional direct mail appeals tend to spike in the month of December. Remember, the year-end giving season ends on December 31; this deadline is important for donors who itemize charitable deductions.
Consider planning now for campaigns, mailings and events around these days to help increase your fundraising momentum during the final months of the year.
Sharpe Group has several publications to consider using as an insert in fall appeals, at events or in gift acknowledgment letters or pledge reminder mailings. This year Sharpe has five year-end giving brochures (see designs below) from which to choose (available soon), in addition to publications such as Better Estate Planning, Questions & Answers About Estate Planning and Your Guide to Effective Giving in 2016. There are also eGuides to help you strategize both your overall year-end fundraising plans (available soon) and appeals for gifts from charitable IRAs, which also traditionally find popularity at the end of each year. For more information, click here. ■