Planning Your Year-End Fundraising Calendar | Sharpe Group
Posted August 2nd, 2017

Planning Your Year-End Fundraising Calendar

As was reported in the July issue of Give & Take, several studies of philanthropic giving in 2016 reported what many fundraisers already knew from experience—that the last three months of the year are the busiest for fundraising.

Why do people tend to give more at year-end? Many donors rush to make gifts before the end of the calendar year to qualify for tax benefits the following April. Add the impetus from the spirit of giving between Thanksgiving and the end of the year, and December leads all other months in gifts to nonprofit recipients, with over 150 percent more funds raised that month than the next most popular month of giving, June (the end of the fiscal year for many nonprofits, with consequent pushes to collect outstanding pledges).

In addition, the current talk of possible changes to federal income tax laws—changes that could reduce tax savings from charitable gifts in the future—could make this fall an even busier time for giving.

Several national events have been established to help charities promote fundraising at the end of the year.

National Estate Planning Awareness Week: October 16-22, 2017. This week offers an opportunity to partner with estate planners in your area to educate your donors on charitable bequests and other planned gifts that offer income and other financial benefits. Click here for more info.

National Philanthropy Day: November 15, 2017. While your supporters should be recognized throughout the year, this day has been set aside to shine the spotlight on volunteers and donors. For more information, visit the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP)’s site for this event by clicking here.

#GivingTuesday: November 28, 2017. Coming shortly after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday encourages donors to add their favorite charities to their gift list. 

Tools for increasing year-end giving

Act now to ensure your fundraising plan is designed to maximize year-end giving. A successful strategy in the final three months of the year could make a real difference in your final fundraising numbers for the entire year.

Not sure how to get started? Sharpe Group consultants can help you design an effective year-end giving strategy specific to your organization. Contact us for assistance at 901.680.5300 or

Sharpe also has several publications that can be used to help boost fall appeals, distributed at events or inserted in gift acknowledgment letters or pledge reminder mailings. Available soon,

Sharpe’s three year-end giving brochures (see designs on right) provide a focused message, while publications such as Better Estate Planning, Questions & Answers About Estate Planning and Your Guide to Effective Giving in 2017 offer information on a wide range of giving options, including year-end giving.

In addition, The Charitable IRA brochure highlights gifts from retirement plans, which are traditionally popular at year-end. Click here for more information and to reserve your year-end brochures. ■

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The publisher of Sharpe Insights is not engaged in rendering legal or tax advisory service. For advice and assistance in specific cases, the services of your own counsel should be obtained. Articles in Sharpe Insights may generally be reprinted for distribution to board members and staff of nonprofit institutions and other non-donor groups. Proper credit must be given. Call for details.

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