With fall upon us, the cooler temperatures, autumn colors, and pumpkin spice everything, the year-end giving season is also here. The 2022 Year-End Giving will be interesting to watch. The 2022 Giving USA report, measuring 2021 giving numbers, reported an overall increase in giving of 4%, but when adjusted for inflation, it was down 0.7%. Giving from individuals increased nearly 5% over 2020, but remains below 70% of all giving for the 4th year in a row. Additionally, bequest gifts were down by over 7%.
In light of the current giving climate, I have three ideas for nonprofit leaders to develop strong year-end messaging and successful year-end fundraising campaigns.
Show your stuff.
As you fine-tune your year-end messaging, consider sharing your impact through statistics and stories. Great messaging happens throughout the year, but year-end is the time to reinforce the impact you have been demonstrating all along. Share your success through progress reports, social media posts, videos (professional or organic from your phone), email, direct mail, phone calls, and personal meetings. Do it all. Tell your story well. The end of the year is the time to remind donors of the impact their generosity has within your work. As they contemplate their year-end 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 nonprofit!
Motivate mid-level donors.
When planning your end of year fundraising efforts, remember your mid-range donors. They are a valuable donor group that is discerning how to maintain generosity in a high-inflation environment. They consider tax implications of donating—or not. You need a messaging 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 charitable 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 year-end message for them.
Emphasize existing partners
Often the trendy nonprofit fundraising idea is to attract new donors, but your year-end fundraising campaigns should focus on current donors. It is not wrong to get new donors, but invest more time in those already committed to the work you do. Building long-term relationships with donors leads these individuals to give large donations down the line that can help your organization the most. According to Bloomberg, most major gifts are given after 5 years of giving to an organization. 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.
Remember, you cannot control the economy, global events, or a donor’s family circumstances. You CAN control your year-end message, how you communicate it, and to whom you communicate it. As you plan your year-end fundraising strategy, focus on what you are accomplishing. The problems you are helping solve are important. Donors partner with your nonprofit to make an impact.
The impact of a year-end donation does not change.