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You know it’s coming – the closer the calendar gets to January 1st, the more your mailbox and inbox fill up with year-end donation appeals. You are aware that this influx of donation requests is inevitable for a few reasons. First, it’s the nature of the season. Second, you are most likely a supporter of charities outside of your own organization and have been watching these campaigns roll out over the past couple of months. And finally, your organization is running its own end of year giving campaigns too!
Nonprofits of all sizes, in countless locations, and with varying causes – including your own – run numerous giving campaigns during the holiday season, making it easy for constituents to give back and spread joy to others. And whether your supporters see giving as a way to express their gratitude for the blessings they have or as a way to make some last minute tax-deductible charity donations before the year ends, you know that giving is on their minds more than usual right now, and that it is partially inspired by the magic of the holidays.
But while charitable actions are a plenty (no pun intended) during the holiday season, supporting charities year-round is equally important. Nonprofit budgets and fundraising strategies depend on the surge of donations during this time of year, but for most nonprofits, the needs you’re trying to meet with your fundraising campaigns are seasonless, that is – need knows no season.
People are diagnosed with cancer, diabetes, brain tumors, or another terrifying disease every day of the year; there are children starving around the world every day of the year; animals are homeless or neglected every day of the year. Basically, the world needs help from people like you every day of the year.
So, as someone who not only supports nonprofits as a donor but also as a member of an organization, the question becomes: What does it take to harness your constituents’ warmth around giving during this season and make it last throughout the year?
At Plenty, we recommend two things:
1. Start with gratitude. Follow up your end of year donations with thank you letters or e-mails that tell a moving story and quantify the impact your constituents’ donations have made. The first step in creating a long-term relationship that transcends seasonal giving patterns is to let your supporters know that they are making a difference and that you appreciate them. Remember, giving makes people feel good, but they feel even better when they’re acknowledged and recognized for it!
2. Let your donors know there is still work to do. After the holidays, reach out to your constituents with a plan on how you’ll continue to move the needle over the course of the year, and most importantly, how they can help. The key here is to remind them that none of your activities are possible without their support. It can also be helpful to ask your constituents which aspects of your mission interest them the most, and then use their responses as a way to segment your communications. This helps you keep the conversation going while simultaneously sharing opportunities for them to get involved that they are excited about.
The success of your campaigns depends on how often and how well you ask your constituents for support. Make sure to put as much emphasis and planning into your year-round communications as you do during this festive season. Build a cultivation and stewardship plan that recognizes members of your giving community for their help, communicates the impact they are making, and speaks to their interests. This will ensure they are engaging in your cause beyond Thanksgiving, #GivingTuesday, and Christmas – because need knows no season.
To learn more about engaging your constituents year-round download our Seven Success Factors E-Book.