If you’re a busy nonprofit professional, it’s important to think about how your individual giving can be as simple as possible. This can help ensure that you won’t procrastinate—and that your staff won’t either.

Here are five ways to make year-end fundraising stress-free for yourself and your organization.

Create Reminders of your Year-End Deadlines and work Backwards

Reminders to give money come in many forms: email notifications, social media posts or text messages. It can help reduce some of the headaches associated with year-end fundraising if you know your deadlines and start using the time you have left to spread out your reminders accordingly.

Donors won't know you're scrambling, and will just react to your reminder with either a donation or not. Donors just want to feel like they have options and control over how their money is spent. Here's a few ways you can remind your donors:

  • Email: Send one email and let donors know what you need, when it needs to be in by, and how much of that amount you’ve received so far. Give them a link to a secure donation form or Keyword Text-In option so they can give quickly and easily with just a few clicks.
  • Be specific about how their gift will help: Be detailed about exactly how gifts will impact your organization. Include photos if possible!
  • Communicate deadlines ahead of time: You may have urgent fundraising goals, but don’t wait until there are just weeks left in order to ask for donations! People value knowing that there is an urgency behind a request and won’t hesitate to step up if you properly communicate an urgent need well ahead of time
  • Remind people often why your organization exists—and why it deserves support
  • Say thank you: Check back in with donors after year-end giving has concluded to say thank you again!
To learn more about getting a Harness Giving secure donation form on your website, click here.

Get Donor Info Early

One way to make your year-end giving a little less stressful is to get donors’ information early in December, so you can start communicating with them. Be sure to ask them if they’re interested in making an annual gift or would like to provide smaller donations on a recurring basis. Not only will having that info on file save you some time and energy during a busy season, but it will also set up good communication habits with your donors for the coming year(s).

Just make sure you follow up accordingly! If someone says he or she doesn’t want to give again, respect those wishes. And don't forget about asking for continued support from people who regularly give.

Some organizations may wait until December 31st to ask for new gifts, but there's no reason why you shouldn't be constantly reminding donors about why it's important that they continue supporting your organization - and what new programs are opening soon!

When these details are fresh in their minds, like around April of each year, those reminders can really help boost donations -- especially for mid-size organizations and smaller groups. So there's no need to feel nervous about approaching supporters throughout the whole year -- just have fun with it!

Offer Flexibility for Donors

With donor retention rates hovering around 50%, it’s important to remember that someone can and will give you multiple gifts over time.

If a major donor is busy, unwilling or unable to make an impact right now, don’t turn them away! Instead, ask them how they would like to contribute. You may have your eye on $100,000 but if a big donor wants to only give $25 per month, don’t refuse them!

Even small donations of $50 per month have a profound effect on long-term growth. For example, this case study shows how Puyallup Food Bank increased their monthly giving by 21% in their first 60 days of using Harness Giving by simply offering recurring giving as an option on their donation form. Plus: It may be harder than you think to find a new donor who fits your organization’s needs. Donors want to feel important—even in a sea of other donors.

To read more about how Puyallup Food Bank quadrupled their annual online giving total in their first year, click here

Finding a way to say "yes" when others say "no" goes a long way towards creating memories for people who could become life-long supporters.

Leverage Technology

There are plenty of digital tools to help ensure you’re meeting your year-end fundraising goals.

Online donation forms make it easy for donors to give and track what percentage of a nonprofit’s revenue comes from different sources, including direct mail, telemarketing and online donations.

If a donor gives through one channel but not another, you can adjust tactics accordingly to reach that donor with more effective methods.

Setting up text message reminders for recurring gifts will remind potential donors to contribute throughout the year, increasing engagement and securing repeat contributions from those who are already supportive.

Giving days like #GivingTuesday or #KindnessDay provide excellent opportunities to increase awareness around your cause on social media – leading to more opportunities for donations in future years. 

Don't Be Afraid to Ask your Donors

After doing all your research and creating a plan, you’ll need to actually ask your donors to give. Asking people for money is never easy; if it were, everyone would be rich and philanthropic.

If you aren’t sure how to create an effective appeal or are still finalizing a strategy around your goals, consider reaching out to us here at Harness Giving. We're a fundraising platform that specializes in online giving—and can help put together different ways to ask, as well as manage fundraising goals so donors can track their impact. These services will also allow you to accept credit card donations, which is helpful if your organization works with clients who do not have access to cash or checks.

Working with an fundraising platform like Harness Giving will save time and ensure that supporters have a seamless experience when donating on your behalf. It also allows organizations without large budgets to bring in more revenue from bigger donors through technology (such as crowdfunding) rather than direct mail pieces or phone calls.

What’s not awesome about that?