If you’re involved with a charity that’s trying to raise money in the month of December, it can be easy to feel like you’re swimming upstream against the year-end giving tide. As more and more people delay their charitable donations until the last minute, your organization may be scrambling to meet its fundraising goals before year-end rolls around and donations slow down significantly or even stop completely.
If this sounds familiar, fear not – here are some great ways you can make sure your year-end giving goals are met and exceeded.
Give donors multiple ways to give. One of the biggest mistakes we see charities make is not making it easy for their donors to give and giving your donor a BAD experience to remember. If a donor is struggling with trying to decide how they want to donate, you can lose them as a donor right then and there.
A great way to prevent that from happening is offering multiple ways for donors to contribute. Give them different kinds of donation options such as: a donation form on your website, Round-Up with every credit card purchase, mail in check or Text-In a keyword to make a donation. By doing so you’re making it easier on their end and showing your organization that you’re willing to work hard to get donations from people who might not be able or have time available at that moment.
Giving your donors more options will also attract new potential supporters and current supporters will definitely appreciate you having more than one way for them to contribute.
Some good examples of organizations using several methods of donating are below; it will show what some common methods are but certainly don't limit yourself because these are just suggestions!
Ask for leadership gifts.
If a donor has given money to your organization in past years, consider asking them for a leadership gift—or, at least, an increased gift. Many donors like getting involved and helping an organization they love grow. And these donors are more likely to give more than they otherwise would have.
For example, someone who gives $50 every year might be asked for $100. Now that person's donation is one-third of what it was before—but instead of being half of last year's donation, that $100 becomes a quarter of next year's goal. It’s not too much to ask; often, it’s just a matter of respectfully discussing how much support you need.
Agree with your co-workers on fundraising goals.
Most charities operate under agreed upon fundraising budgets with their peers or umbrella organizations (such as United Way). These groups should all work together to develop strategies for how each individual group will meet those set goals. This way, everyone pitches in their own strengths to work toward accomplishing that larger mission: raising enough funds by year end to do good things.
Encourage smaller donations from new donors.
Donors may initially feel their dollars should go to providing for their families, but still make sure their money supports causes they care about. For this reason, prompting donors to give less today in order to increase their impact over time appeals to a larger crowd. They feel like they contribute smaller amounts upfront, but to any charity, recurring donations help sustainability.
We call this a SmartAsk and is a functionality we offer on our donation forms.
Other times people want to support charities closely, especially when they care deeply about something specific – such as protecting a certain species or preserving art. Making monthly donations appealing so they automatically contribute each month. (Tip: Don't forget to setup your automatic "Thank You" texts to show gratitude and give them that release of dopamine)
One of our strongest findings with our long-time partner, Carolina Tiger Rescue was in their first year of partnering with Harness Giving, they amassed 67 monthly donors, without having run a single dedicated appeal for monthly giving. The key to this is: Smaller donations add up over time.
To read the full Case Study and Success Story for Caroline Tiger Rescue using the Harness Giving Platform to fundraise, click here.
Ask donors to spread the word
If you’re able, ask your donors to ask everyone they know for a contribution. If that’s not possible, ask them to share your organization’s story with them; let them know what type of impact it will have on their community, and provide a link so they can donate online.
Having seen success from passive stewardship channels such as social media and email, the Licking County Humane Society was excited to test the impact of direct stewardship via Harness.
After successfully implementing Harness and driving over 300 new donors to the platform, Licking County Humane Society was faced with an urgent funding need: Sophie, a dog, was in need of a new prosthetic leg that would allow her to walk again. With the cost of the procedure being so high, they put together a narrative surrounding Sophie’s battle against a congenital deformity that was compromising her ability to walk and sent a text to her donor base to see if anyone would be willing to help…
The response was tremendous. Within 36 hours, Sophie’s campaign was fully funded by 33 individual donors giving directly from their phone.
To read Sophie's & Licking County Humane Society full Success Story, click here.
Above all else: Don’t lose hope!
At any time during year-end giving, remember: You are just as important as potential donors; your message could make all the difference between success and failure. Make sure people know why they should give to your cause by helping them understand both what you stand for and why they should care about it.
No matter how bleak things look at first, there are always alternatives to consider. Your board may be able to offer some creative ideas or fundraising strategies that can help meet financial obligations and put you back on track.
If not, consider speaking with the Harness Giving team to see how we can help you get results.