With mere days left in 2021, we have entered the height of giving season. Did you know that nearly 31% of annual giving occurs in December? In fact, 12% of annual giving happens in the last three days of the year. More donations are processed on December 30th and 31st than any other days. Over the next few weeks, the spirit of giving is at its peak! A number of LSC’s clients have received gifts this season that are higher than ever before – be courageous, clear and concise at this time of year to encourage generosity with impact. Although tax benefits are NOT a primary motivator for giving, they are incentivizing. Don’t make your year-end giving plan appeal about taxes or the calendar year; make it about gratitude, impact, community and contributing!  (Pro tip: less is more this time of year. Be concise!)

As your organization heads into the final moments of 2021, review these seven tips to make sure that you’re covering all of your bases for your year-end giving plan:

Tell the story of your year!
Tell the hopes for your next one, too. Give donors an update on where you are and where you want to go. How can they help make that a reality? Storytelling is a key component of any year-end giving plan. If you aren’t sure where to start, the Hero’s Journey is a great strategy for showing a donor how they can make a lasting impact on your organization.

Thank them first and reach out often
Send a quick thank you to everyone who donated to your organization in 2021 – wish them a happy new year, offer a brief update, and then make a year-end ask. Don’t be afraid to continue to follow-up as the year comes to a close. Your supporters are expecting asks this time of year, so make the most of it!

Incentivize year-end donations
Could you offer year-end donors free tickets or special access to a 2022 event? Are you able to set up a match for year-end donations? Is there unused merch somewhere at the office? Get creative! What are the ways your organization is incentivizing a last minute donation? 

Shoot for the stars
Not only do more people donate on December 30th and 31st than on any other days of the year, but data shows that the average gift size for the last two days of the year is significantly more than the average Giving Tuesday gift. Year-end giving can sometimes feel like casting a net to see what you catch; don’t let this mentality keep you from going after the big fish! LSC specializes in Major Gift and Capital Campaign fundraising. We’ve seen multi-year 6-, 7-, and even 8-figure pledges come in around the end of year. Close pending solicitations, ensure lapsed major donors are engaged, and go for the gold – solicit multi-year investments NOW.  Be specific! 

Celebrate your wins publicly!
Everyone wants to play for a winning team. If you have a specific year-end fundraising goal, showcase your percentage to goal in your appeals, on your website, and in your office. Make a countdown out of it. Celebrate record firsts and largests. This will pay-off on the last two days of the year, when donors are most likely to make impulsive donations; an almost-full thermometer could be just the visual they need to click “donate.”

Follow up in the new year
Once 2022 rolls around, it’s time to set the stage for a long-term relationship. Maximize on your rush of year-end donors by introducing them to your organization, following-up, inviting them to future events, and – most importantly – keeping them updated on the impact of their gift. 

The end of the year can be incredibly overwhelming, but one of the best parts about working in the nonprofit space is our support for one another! Do you have a helpful year-end giving tip to add to this list? Drop a comment with the highlights of your year-end giving plan!