This is it! We are in the final push to get those needed gifts in to close out the year. And what a year this has been! In the first quarter of 2020, 83% of nonprofits reported that they experienced a reduction in revenue. Although there was revenue recovery in the second quarter showing an uptick in repeat gifts and recaptured gifts from lapsed donors. Smaller donations under $250 saw a 19.2% increase year to date. All is not doomed!
Many nonprofits have proven to be resilient. They have used technology and innovation for large fundraising initiatives and old-fashioned hands-on stewardship to keep annual and major donors engaged. And thanks to social media and virtual engagements many donor relationships and events have been saved and strengthened.
But what about year-end fundraising for boards? What should they be doing now to close gifts with fire and fury as we close out one of the most unsettling and chaotic years in our nation’s history?
To get ready, board members should ask the Director of Development (DOD) for a quick 90-minute fundraising training including information pertaining to donor behavior in the pandemic. They must learn who is giving and to whom. They should be shown examples of successful campaigns and mock role-plays of making the ask. All board members need to know the mission, talking points, the case, the fundraising goal for 2020 and the current gap to reaching that goal successfully. This crash course is the bare essentials that boards need to know now to close immediate gifts in the last 60 days of 2020.
Then each board member should create a goal based on the revealed gaps and their individual networks of people who can give. The goals can be as small as $250 or high as $250,000. Each of their goals should be realistic with a little wiggle room for unexpected success.
Now an action plan with wise and doable steps should be developed. Here are some easy and impactful ways to get started with year-end fundraising for boards:
Write a list of 20-50 people that you think may give because of your mission or your friendship. Write the amounts you think each can give.
Create a touch plan outlining 2 touches per week for two months. A touch can be a phone call, email, social media post or a holiday card.
Send them an impact video or infographic about your nonprofit – follow up with phone calls to discuss. Even send a handwritten note in the mail with a sticky note that says “$150 gift would be great, smiley face!”
Create a personal video explaining why you serve on the board and why your nonprofit is worthy of an investment. Send it out to your network including your family. Post on social media and ask for $100.
Create a special post with a photo of yourself holding a sign. “I love the YMCA. Trust Me! t is an investment worth making. Give $250+ here www.ymca.org.”
Use special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries to invite friends to give $50 on Facebook and Instagram.
Share a moving story about a friend or family member who is ill and ask for a $100 strength gift in their honor to your organization.
Create your own Mission Walk or Run and ask friends to pledge $5 for every mile you walk over the next 30 days (Track your progress. Post on social media. Blog daily about your experience.)
Invite 30 close friends and colleagues to a year-end virtual holiday party (with fun ideas like signature cocktails) and charge $150 per ticket to benefit your organization. Seek free entertainment. Your daughter’s ballet performance is simply fine!
Send e-holiday messages that include a request for a love offering ($50 – $1,000).
With a proactive and creative plan, board members can tap into the desire for change that most people want. Many people are seeking opportunities to do something meaningful to see things improve in our society. Each touch should have a call to action to make a meaningful gift with a specific amount through an easy giving channel.
Christal M. Cherry, The Board Pro, worked for 23 years as a nonprofit fundraiser serving higher education institutions, seminaries, and human service organizations. Now a nonprofit board consultant, she equips and empowers boards to support their missions and change the world. Her services as Principal and CEO of the Board Pro, include recruitment, governance, fundraising, conflict resolution, diversity, equity, inclusion, access, and belonging. Christal earned a MA in Counseling from Hampton University, a BA in Liberal Arts from Hofstra University, and professional development certifications in nonprofit leadership, social media fundraising, and nonprofit management. She is a contributing author to Collecting Courage, a collection of first-person narratives from Black fundraisers documenting their experiences with racism in the nonprofit sector. In 2021, Christal authored her first children’s book, Mac and Cheez, Being Different is Okay which is available on Amazon.