Summer is drawing to a close. With fall around the corner, the prospect of cooler temperatures, autumn colors, and pumpkin spice everything, the year-end giving season is also upon us. The 2019 Year-End Giving will be interesting to watch. The 2018 Giving USA report indicated a slight growth in giving of 0.7 percent, but individual giving was down 1.1 percent. According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, 26 percent of nonprofits said the changes to the 2017 tax law did not affect their fundraising. Just 17 percent said they saw a negative effect. This leaves some question marks on the philanthropic landscape.
As individuals filed their tax returns in April, they became more aware of the tax implications associated with giving. Donors were able to see whether or not they were able to whether or not they will be able to deduct donations, or if they take the standard deduction. This year presents the first realistic view of the actual impact of the 2017 tax law has on charitable giving.
In light of the current giving climate, I have three suggestions for ministry leaders in preparation for the fourth quarter.
Show your stuff.
Share your impact through statistics and stories. There are many ways to do this. Start now by sharing the great work that is happening through your ministry Share progress reports, social media posts, videos (professional or on your smartphone), email, direct mail, phone calls, and personal meetings. Do it all. Tell your story well. Now is the time to remind donors of the impact their generosity has within your ministry. As they contemplate their giving decisions, be certain they understand the impact their gift has on those you serve. Be confident in the work God is accomplishing through your ministry!
Your mid-range donors are the most likely to consider tax implications related to whether or not they should donate. You need a strategy which speaks to them directly. Reinforce the importance of the work they are accomplishing with their gift. Remind them they are solving problems and helping meet the needs of people you serve. Steward this relationship well – it may be at risk! Educate them on bunching strategies – giving more through a donor advised fund one year and taking the standard deduction the next year. Segment your mid-level donors and send additional communication tailored with a special message for them.
Emphasize existing partners
. While it may feel good to be trendy, and it is always fun to attract new donors, the year-end timeframe should focus on current donors. It is not wrong to get new donors, but invest more time on those already committed to the work you do. Existing donors typically give more than new donors. Spend your time on those who have already demonstrated a commitment to your work. Donor acquisition strategies can take place the rest of the year.
You cannot control tax laws, the economy, or a donor’s family circumstances. You CAN control your message, how you communicate it, and to whom you communicate it. As you plan your year-end giving strategy, focus on what you are accomplishing. Donors partner with you to make an impact.
Regardless of the giving climate, the problems you help solve remains the same.
The impact of a year-end gift does not change.