While retailers are gearing up for their busy season, so are non-profits. A survey from Charity Navigator shows that charities raise 41% of their annual contributions in the last six weeks of the year.
Dan Quirk, marketing specialist for DonorPro Nonprofit Fundraising Solutions, a company that specializes non-profit management software, says every organization is preparing for a donation blitz.
“A big part of nurturing relationships with prospects, donors, volunteers and supporters is through digital communication,” he says.
To help your organization make the most of this time, we have eight tips to help boost your year-end donations.
Tip #1: Share stories
Ask the people you help to share their story. Create a blog post or a video that highlights one person’s story. Share that link in an email to show donors what kind of impact they can have.
- Mercy Ships, a charity that uses hospital ships to help those with subpar medical care, shared this story with its donors.
This email doesn’t necessarily require a push for donations. Try a different call to call to action like “Hear From Others You Can Help.” Show your supporters how they can help and provide the option if they want to donate.
Tip #2: Make holidays count
There’s a bunch of holidays between now and January that you’ll want to mark on your calendar. From Thanksgiving to Hanukkah, take a few minutes to flip through the calendar and plan to engage with donors on or around these holidays.
- MarcFirst, an organization that helps those with disabilities, asked supporters to make a contribution as part of their New Year’s resolution.
- Near Thanksgiving, ask your audience to make a donation in honor of all those they are thankful for.
- For Hanukkah, provide eight reasons to donate to correspond with the eight nights of Hanukkah.
- Around Christmas, ask donors to buy a gift for those in need. Before they drop it off, encourage them to post a picture of the gift on your social channels.
- At the beginning of the year, send an email that showcases how many people your organization helped.
Tip #3: Remember Giving Tuesday
Giving Tuesday is December 2. This national day of giving is a great way to boost donations, Quirk says.
“Any time the world agrees to dedicate one day of the year entirely to donating to causes, non-profit organizations should take advantage of it,” he says. “People will give because of their desire to be a part of something big.”
- The non-profit, College Mentors, created a special graphic for Giving Tuesday and shared it on Twitter.
Tip #4: Be transparent
Tell your audience exactly how their donations are used. Send an email that encourages donations and explains how far each dollar goes.
- LiveStrong, a non-profit that supports cancer patients, puts that information right on its donation form.
Tip #5: Host and promote events
Consider planning a few events during this time of year. Yes, planning events can take a bit of time, but use your network of supporters to help. Food shelters can host a can drive, an animal shelter can host a low-cost class for kids to make pet-shaped ornaments and a homeless shelter can encourage volunteers to take shifts serving holiday meals.
- Jewish Family Services, for example, is hosting a Hanukkah wrapping party.
Tip #6: Plan an easy giveaway on social media
Engage with your audience by offering a holiday-themed giveaway on social media. Partner with a local business to giveaway a 20% off coupon with every donation, or ask your audience to share what they’re thankful for around Thanksgiving and giveaway tickets to your annual fundraiser.
- CityPlants, an organization that plants trees in Los Angeles, gave away a turkey dinner on Facebook.
Tip #7: Create a gift catalog
People love to buy gifts around the holidays, so consider turning your services into a gift catalog. Create the equivalent of an online flyer to encourage shoppers to make a donation.
- Red Cross uses a holiday catalog to showcase its services. Donors can buy services for those in need. For example, you can buy a blanket for $ 15 or a military comfort kit for $ 40. Here’s a look at the email that Red Cross sends out to encourage donors to purchase from its catalog:
Tip #8: Be specific
Asking for donations is fine, but sometimes people want to buy an actual item and give it to an organization. So, if you have a specific need it’s okay to ask for it.
- San Diego Rescue Mission, for example, asked its donors to bring in turkeys to feed a Thanksgiving crowd of 2,000.
How will your non-profit communicate with supporters during this donation-driven time? Share your tips in the comments below.
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