Klein & Roth Consulting E-Newsletter
Issue #6 – December 2011

Dear Karen, 

In our final e-newsletter of 2011, Kim Klein suggests some useful last-minute things you can do to raise money from individual donors in the final two weeks of the year.
If you’re struggling to think of a gift for your favorite nonprofit staff or board member, consider getting them one of our excellent books
We also wanted to recommend two articles we read recently – the first a wonderful critique of outcome-driven thinking.

And something that should concern all of us – the rise of anti-Muslim racism and xenophobia right here in our nonprofit sector:

End of Year Fundraising
by Kim Klein

According to many studies, about 40% of all giving is done in December, and according to some on-line research, about 40% of on-line donations are made the last two days of December.  Why do people give so much in December?  Many think it is because so many giving holidays are concentrated in this month (Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and so on) and because this is the end of this tax year, but I think it is just as much because we have trained donors to give now.  People give when they are asked and this is when we ask them.
So here we are, with less than two weeks to go in 2011, and I want to suggest six things you can do to maximize your income in this period of time.  Many of you have these in the works, but for those of you who don’t:

1)       Call all the people who gave you money in 2010 but not yet in 2011 (called in fundraising your LYBUNTs:  Last Year But Unfortunately Not This).  I know you have written and e-mailed, so now get on the phone.  This is a great job for board members, volunteers or students looking for some part time work during the holidays.  Find a handful of cheerful smart friendly people, give them a script and a phone, and watch some money come in, as well as change of addresses, complaints (“you always spell my name wrong”),  confusion (“I thought I gave to you already”) and so on.  These are all things that are best handled by phone.  Even if you end up leaving lots of voicemail messages, your call will be a reminder to donors about your request, as well as a chance to let them know how much you appreciate their past support.

2)       Get an e-appeal ready to go out on Dec 26th.  Send a slightly different version to anyone who didn’t respond to the first one on Dec 28th, and send a final “This is your last chance in this tax year” appeal on the 30th.  Send the appeal to all the donors for whom you have e-mail addresses, whether or not they have given up to now.  Your appeal can be nuanced so that people who have given feel acknowledged for that:  “Thanks for all you have done all year—if you can see your way clear to helping us one last time this year, please do so.” 

3)      If you have made the mistake of going entirely, for all your donors, to an electronic format, please reconsider.  Note that not everyone has a computer and some of your oldest and most loyal donors are no longer hearing from you at all.  Many other donors cannot keep up with all the e-mail they get and you will lose them if you don’t have some paper communication.  Take the donors for whom you have snail mail addresses who haven’t given since you instituted this “green” program (raising a pet peeve of mine, which is how not green computers are, but that is a rant for another time) and write to them.  Send the letters first class so they have time to arrive before the end of the year.  If you don’t have time for #3, at least re-think your use of paper and virtual communication for next year. 

4)      Remind donors of the IRA Rollover provision, which allows people over 70 1/2 years of age to take money out of their IRA (retirement account) to give to a charity without incurring income tax but still maintaining the deduction.  This is a wonderful benefit for retired people who have IRAs. 

5)      For those of you who close your office the last two weeks of the year, make sure you have someone checking voice mail messages, email and snail mail.  Organizations that close down completely in the last two weeks of the year often miss out on last-minute donations if any staff attention is required.  We knew of an organization that missed out on a gift of $100,000 because the donor called them at 4:00pm on December 31st and couldn’t get the assistance they needed to make a gift of appreciated stocks.  On a smaller scale, people who have trouble with your website or encounter other technology glitches will give up if they can’t reach someone in your office for help.

6)      Make sure your website and Facebook page reflect the financial needs you have and your fundraising goals.  Wish people a Happy New Year! 

From all of us at Klein and Roth Consulting, happy holidays—whatever you celebrate, and all the best in the New Year.  

Klein & Roth Consulting
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