5 Things Every Fundraiser Should Do the Last Week of the Year H1
When I was the Development Director at the St. Vincent de Paul Society, the agency always closed the final week of the year. As the chief fundraising officer, however, I came into the office every day between December 26 and December 31 – excited about another great day of cultivating donors and receiving those year-end gifts.
Let me be clear that the time between Christmas day and New Years eve is precious to me – often spent with friends and family. But it’s also the time when many donors make end-of-year giving decisions and begin thinking about their plans for the coming year. This week can be among your most productive if you do the following 5 tasks:
#1: Remind board members of their annual financial commitments
Whether your fiscal year ends December 31, July 31, or some other date, your board members are thinking about their end of tax-year giving now (and so are the people they might solicit). For this reason, remind board members about their personal giving and fundraising commitments using a simple report like this:
Since this report should come from a peer, the best person to send the report is the Board Chair, Development Committee Chair, or Governance Chair. They should also call the board member before sending the report.
#2: Call board members who met their annual financial commitments to say “thank you”
Many of your board members probably met their give/get months ago, but this is still a good time of year to call and express your gratitude for their fundraising and philanthropic efforts this year.
#3: Call your largest 10 donors and thank them for supporting your organization
This is a brief call (or often a brief voicemail) to say “thank you” to your largest donors and share how their gift helped your organization achieve its mission this year. At no point in the call should you ask for an additional gift, though you may receive one or two surprise checks in the coming week.
#4: Send thank you letters for all gifts received in the past few weeks
The time leading up to Christmas day and New Years day are often hectic, and sometimes development officers fall behind on thank you letters in December. But donors are always impressed when a gift is acknowledged within days of being mailed. So, with many of your colleagues out of the office this week, you probably have the extra time to merge and mail acknowledgement letters just a bit more quickly.
#5: Solicit 2016 donors who haven’t given yet this year
Your CRM undoubtedly has a LYBUNT report (LYBUNT is jargon for donors who gave Last Year But Unfortunately Not This). Run the LYBUNT report sorted in descending order from highest gift to lowest gift. Start at the top of the list with the highest lapsed donor and begin making calls. In each call or voice mail, express your sincere appreciation for their support and ask that they make an end of year gift to your organization today. If you have hundreds of LYBUNTS, you won’t be able to call them all - - - but try to call your top 20 – 50 donors who gave in 2016 but haven’t yet given in 2017.