The AFP Connecticut chapter had a very good panel discussion last week featuring top professionals from very different organizations presenting their approaches to year-end giving programs. Year-end giving! Yikes, it’s already October!
Yes, it’s October, which in the northern hemisphere is a time to reap, so now’s the time to gather in your pledges and gifts and all that work you’ve done with your cultivation efforts.
Here are some suggestions for all of these various cohorts:
- Direct mail for small gifts still are a key, so get your package set up and out by no later than October 31. Even with the changes in shopping – you now have to compete with electronic sales as well as Hallowe’en and Thanksgiving shopping as well as Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanza/and two Hindu holidays(!) – you want your material to hit people’s mailboxes by November 10 so they can send in their checks and pledges by December 31.
- You can still troll for acquisition gifts, just don’t do it by direct mail – use email and social media. Cheaper and very effective, especially if you tie it into a special event that you’re holding prior to December 10. After December 10, social media gets tied into as many knots as direct mail.
- Telephone solicitations can be very effective, even with no-call lists, if you aim at past donors following a direct mail or email program. Both volunteer and paid staff methodologies work. Try to get a matching gift to make the program more exciting, both for the callers and the donors.
- Major donors are now preparing to ask their philanthropic funds for monies for gifts, so make sure you have made your request by no later than October 15. Remember, philanthropic funds go before boards for review and approval, so you want it to clear before December.
- You want to be closing your mega gifts in time for December. Try to get your donors to have their brokers call you and let you know which appreciated securities they’re transferring to you, so avoiding late December – when brokers are just as time crushed as all of us – is crucial.
- Special events are a great time to collect checks – make sure to have a collection line for your major donors with your chairperson right at the front door. I know, it’s old fashioned – but so are checks and you’d like more of them because they still work pretty well, don’t they!
And it’s not just for small gifts that year-end giving programs should be designed. Get in your LYBUNTS, SYBUNTS, and PYBUNTS by all means available and necessary, but don’t forget to complete as many of your major gift/mega gift solicitations as possible. Happy fundraising!