My years so far in fundraising have taught me so much, and one thing they’ve taught me is that we use parts of the year as anchors for good solicitations. Certain times of the year are better for fundraising than others; the summer, for instance, is a bit of a wash! Fall and spring seem to be the best time of the year for direct mail appeals. And then there’s December…
I thought this would be a timely discussion right now: end-of-year incentives to give. The end of the calendar year seems to be a great anchor for good fundraising. The question is: what’s your angle???
I sit on the alumni association at my alma mater and had the chance to proofread an end-of-year email blast for the Annual Giving office there. Their angle was to encourage alumni to give NOW so that they can be receipted for this tax year. Many donors plan their giving around tax-related things, so this is a worthwhile angle to use; this could really compel some people to give now rather than later.
Then, of course, I also work in an educational institution myself, where we sent out Christmas cards to our alumni encouraging giving with more of a “’tis the season” angle.
Both are meaningful angles; one is more practical than the other, perhaps, but they both strike some kind of chord and hopefully spur action. Could you say that using the tax year as the incentive is kind of dry? Well, you could… but you could also say that sending out Christmas cards is risky to those that don’t celebrate Christmas…
At the end of the day you have to make a thoughtful decision on how to make an ask in December, but I think we can all agree that with the spirit of giving in the air, it’s a good time to make the ask.
And with that, dear readers, I am done posting for 2012. It’s been a great year at What Gives Philanthropy, with engaging content, new guest blogger friends, and lots of interaction on the site, Twitter, and offline. I hope you have a very enjoyable holiday season, and you’ll hear from me on Friday, January 4, 2013. All the best!!!
Written by Maeve Strathy
Maeve is the Founder of What Gives Philanthropy and has been working in educational fundraising for the past 6 years. Click here to learn more about Maeve.