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Here we are, 4th Quarter
It’s been documented year after year that at least 1/3 of a nonprofit’s revenue is raised in the last 3 months of the calendar year. And, 12% of that happens in the last 3 days of the December. Giving Tuesday is becoming more popular among donors who give at the end of the year. COVID19 does not change this, it makes these next three months all the more critical for nonprofit organizations. Our clients, our patrons, our communities depend on us.

How many of you are in flux?
If you haven’t started planning your end-of-year appeal, it’s not too late, it’s close, but not totally unrealistic. Planning for anything has been almost impossible with COVID, the economy, and changing work environments. How many of you are dealing with changing budgets, goals and even services?

Even with all that, you still need a Plan A, B and C, a timeline and goals. Here’s some basic steps to follow:

  • Decide the theme of your appeal message. Involve your team and let the creativity flow. A theme helps keep your message consistent.
  • Analyze past campaign reports to help you establish realistic goals. If you’ve raised 3% more each year for the past 3 years, then most likely you’ll raise 3% again this year or maybe 4 to 5% if your message is more compelling than usual.
  • Segment donors. A lapsed donor and a major donor should receive different messages. Your basic message will be the same, but your opening sentence or paragraph should target each segment.
  • When you write your appeal for each segment, remember why donors give during the holiday season.
    • They want to feel good about helping others.
    • They want to connect with something positive.
    • They want to take advantage of tax deductions.
  • Make it easy for your donors to give online. Test the donate button on your website and on your Facebook donation page to make sure they are working properly.
  • The end of year is also when donors are looking for ways to donate stock or other securities in order to avoid capital gains tax. Do you have a brokerage account? If so, let your donors know you are able to accept gifts of securities.
  • By November, your messaging should be finalized. Send your first round of solicitations. The majority will be by email, but you may want to send a real letter by postal mail to selected donors. Older donors like to receive mail because that’s what they grew up with. Younger donors like to receive mail because it’s novel to them.
  • December is when you will
    • update your donors on the progress of the appeal. Keep your donors informed! Let them know you are grateful for their support.
    • send a follow-up appeal, possibly by participating in Giving Tuesday,
    • send a third solicitation between Christmas and New Year’s Eve for those late givers.

Thank You
Most importantly, December and January are also the time to say, “Thank you.” Be creative and genuinely grateful. Involve your board members, other volunteers, and if appropriate, your clients.

Don’t just send another email if you can help it. Phone calls, even if you leave a voice mail; handwritten thank you notes; children’s drawings, if you work with children; all demonstrate that extra touch that make a difference to donors.

Here are 3 questions to ask yourself as you wrap-up your end of year and look forward to 2022:

  1. Have your goals, budgets, and services shifted or pivoted this year?
  2. How are you communicating with your donors? Any suggestions on what else can be done?
  3. What are your plans for the fall and the end of year?
  4. Bonus question: How has or how will you’re plan for 2022 change based on your COVID experience.

At DMGroupConsulting, our goal is to help you achieve your goals. Contact us at