5 Ways to Keep Your Nonprofit on Track Post-Giving Season

Guest Blog Author Adam Weinger, President, Double the Donation

5 Ways to Keep Your Nonprofit On Track Post-Giving Season

Year-end fundraising is undoubtedly the time when nonprofits are most likely to raise more money and reach the most donors. Fall is the season of giving for many reasons, but that does not mean that fundraising should only be geared toward the year-end giving season.

Your fundraising team has to keep a lot of plates spinning as you try to successfully meet your fundraising goals. Don’t let your team become complacent in your fundraising campaign simply because giving season is over. Fundraising should be a year-round effort, even if your campaign does dedicate most of its time and resources to a specific season.

But, you may be wondering: how do I keep my nonprofit’s fundraising on track after giving season ends?

The answer isn’t as complicated as it may seem. There is no magic trick you can do to ensure your nonprofit effortlessly reaches its goals, but you can work to guarantee that your organization seamlessly transitions between fundraising periods.

When you are considering how to plan a fundraising strategy that will still be effective post-giving season, keep in mind these 5 tips:

  1. Take full advantage of the year-end giving season.
  2. Assess your goals and reevaluate your strategy.
  3. Maintain contact with your donors.
  4. Publish informative blog posts.
  5. Encourage year-long engagement.

If you follow these 5 steps, you will be well on your way to a successful fundraising strategy. Now, let’s dive in and get you started with perfecting your fundraising efforts!

1. Take full advantage of the year-end giving season.

The end of the year tends to bring out the generous spirit in a lot of people—because of this, the last two months of the year are prime time for donations.

Your end-of-year appeals are one of the best opportunities for your nonprofit to boost its revenue and reach its yearly fundraising goals. Make sure your year-end asks are:

  • Specific. Don’t be afraid to ask for specific amounts. Just be enthusiastic, but not forceful, and request a specific donation amount based on your understanding of the donor’s capacity and willingness to give.
  • Compelling. Tell a story with your donation requests. The prospective donors want to know about the work you perform and the people, animals, or environments you have helped in the past. Make sure you tug on their heartstrings since so many people around the holidays are already feeling empathetic toward others.
  • Personalized. Your major gift donors should receive a personalized, if not hand-written, note. These gifts have the potential to push you over the finish line with ease and deserve considerable time and effort. This is not to say that your standard donors should not still receive attention. Ensure all donation appeals are personalized with at least their name, donation information, and interests, if known.
  • Informed. Your year-end appeals should all come from a place of knowledge. You should know what your nonprofit has achieved and what you wish to achieve and ask the donors to help you accomplish this.

From GivingTuesday through the end of the year, donations have the potential to increase exponentially. During this time you can capitalize on a donor’s generous spirit and raise awareness of your organization’s cause.

However, while your end-of-year appeals are incredibly important to the success of your nonprofit’s fundraising campaign, you should also remember that they should not be the only strides your nonprofit makes toward its goal. Your year-end campaign will enable you to network and find contacts to grow your donor base throughout the year and leading into your next year-end fundraiser.

2. Assess your goals and reevaluate your strategy.

It is impossible to effectively manage a fundraising campaign if you do not know what your team has accomplished and what still lies ahead. The giving season can be so hectic and you could potentially have a massive influx of data without having the time to really understand the outcome of your efforts.

The first thing you should do post-giving season is to simply take stock of what your nonprofit has and what it still needs. This will enable you to keep planning ahead with a full understanding of your nonprofit’s current status.

Assessing your fundraising strategy and setting new goals can sometimes be stressful. It is not always easy to gauge how effective your campaign will be and you want to set goals that are both ambitious and realistic. Setting a goal that is vastly out of reach is beneficial to no one. You do not want to set your organization’s fundraising team up for failure with an absurd goal.

If your goals are set annually, the data from your year-end fundraising campaign can tell you a lot about your fundraising capacity. You can see how you measured up against your goals before the end-of-the-year push and show you how much you need to raise outside of your year-end campaign.

Your goals can be built around:

  • Raising X amount of funds.
  • Stewarding X number of new donors.
  • Increasing your visibility by X%.
  • Turning X amount of donors into recurring donors.

Make sure to reevaluate and modify your campaign strategy to accommodate the information you learn from your year-end data and go into the new year with your eye on a reasonable, but challenging, goal.

To learn more about how you can set and achieve your big-picture fundraising goals, click here.

While you may be wary of the cost, There are simple ways to keep in-person fundraising affordable. Get creative with your hosting strategies to be sure the event is profitable.

For example, entice volunteers to staff the event. You can attract them by offering something in return for their time. You may choose to reward volunteers at a raffle event with one free raffle ticket, or a 5K volunteer with a waived registration fee for the next race.

Inexpensive event-planning and management software can simplify your fundraising event even further. This software allows you to organize your volunteers, registrations, and planning details for your fundraising events.

3. Maintain contact with donors.

Your relationship with your donors does not end when they make their donation—this is only the beginning. Try to cultivate and grow your relationship to promote donor loyalty.

There are so many factors which contribute to donor retention, but one fact remains: donors are more likely to remain involved in your organization if you keep in touch with them.

You should aim to keep your organization at the forefront of the donor's mind through general, donorwide updates, and specific, personalized outreach. Tactics for these strategies include:

  • Email or direct mail newsletter. This will satisfy the need for general updates and is a great way for you to make sure your donors are thinking about you throughout the year. Try to send a newsletter every month or, at the very least, every quarter.
  • Social media updates. Social media updates allow you to reach a wider, and sometimes new, audience with your organization’s mission. Regularly post about the work you do with short, informative captions and ensure your donors and prospective donors know about every opportunity to get involved.
  • Phone calls. Depending on your donor demographics, phone calls might be the best way to reach your donors. Keep phone records for your donors and reach out to your donors once a quarter to discuss upcoming donation opportunities. People are more likely to become agitated if they receive too many phone calls, so do not call more than once a quarter.
  • In-person cultivation events. Cultivation events provide an opportunity to engage with your donors and prospective donors without directly asking for money. They simply allow for networking and offer a chance for your community to get to know the purpose of your organization.

Maintaining contact after the giving season will also allow you an extra opportunity to inform your donors about the possibility of maximizing the impact of their gifts.

Make sure that you follow up with every supporter from your year-end campaign and let them know to check their eligibility for a matching gift program. You may even consider providing them with a search tool for a matching gift database, like Double the Donation.

Matching gifts allow an employer to match their employee’s gift to a nonprofit organization, effectively doubling, or even tripling, the impact of the person’s donation. This is the best way to make sure that you get the most out of your existing donor base.

4. Publish informative blog posts.

A great nonprofit website will have a blog where they post informative, engaging, and emotional content about their organization and its cause. Just check out Morweb’s list of the best fundraising websites to see for yourself!

Let your donors know what their support has helped fund and show your prospective donors what their support would allow you to do to accomplish even more. Your blog may feature posts about:

  • Upcoming events.
  • Education information.
  • Your organization’s accomplishments.
  • Donor spotlight.
  • Testimonials from volunteers, donors, and your community.
  • Your efforts to support your community.

No matter what, make sure your blog tells a story. Storytelling is a vital asset for nonprofits. People want to feel emotionally connected to the work you do before they become financially invested.

If you are committed to keeping your donors involved with your nonprofit long after giving season is over, you need to make sure the emotional connection is present and maintained through engaging blog posts.

5. Encourage year-long engagement.

Of course, if you are going to encourage year-long engagement, you need to ensure there is something for donors to become involved in each month.

You should plan your calendar year well in advance so that you can promote your events and inspire your community to become involved. Your giving season events can be the large-scale activities on your books, but you should have smaller lead-in events throughout the year.

Try to have one event each month, perhaps coinciding with a holiday or national observance, depending on the cause your organization supports. These events could include:

  • Book drives. Celebrate national reading month in March by collecting books from your community to donate to local schools or children’s homes.
  • Animal adoption day. Help an animal shelter host an adoption during national pet month in May.
  • Women’s emergency shelter drives. Domestic violence month in October is a perfect time to bring your community together to raise awareness for the cause and collect resources for women who are victims of domestic violence.

These ideas are just a few possibilities for you to consider. No matter what cause your nonprofit is passionate about, you can find ways to incorporate events throughout the year without blowing your budget.

If you have a steady involvement schedule that provides your end-of-year donors additional opportunities to be involved in the new year, you will notice a higher retention rate and a boost in revenue.

Don’t let your nonprofit’s fundraising momentum die out after giving season ends. Follow these 5 steps and learn how to increase donor retention and revenue by maximizing the impact of each gift and encouraging your donors’ continued support.

Adam Weinger

Adam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of tools to nonprofits to help them raise more money from corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs. Connect with Adam via email or on email or on LinkedIn.

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