One out of every five people -- or at least people allocating one fifth of their annual charitable giving dollars -- are currently asking themselves, "Hmm, which causes are closest to my heart, and where will my donations have the strongest impact?" (Or they're doing as my sister-in-law did, and asking "Where would you like me to donate in your name as a holiday gift," a question I love!)
As an aside, could there be any clearer indication that the charitable deduction impels people to make contributions? Even if they'd been planning to donate anyway, the prospect of losing the deduction is probably a great kick in the hindquarters for those who'd procrastinated.
At this point, your nonprofit has probably done most of what it can to attract these last-minute donations: fostered connections year-round, sent a holiday appeal (which may be sitting on people's desks right now, for consideration), and perhaps held a recent event or phon-a-thon.
But there are still a few things you can do in these final hours -- which I say apologetically, because vacations are important too -- but the Darwinian truth of the matter is that every other nonprofit in town is trying to curry the procrastinators' favor. My email box is full of the evidence, with as many nonprofit appeals as post-Christmas sales.
So, here are a few ideas (which, even if I don't mention it outright, should all include info on how to donate at the end -- and don't be afraid to ask for large amounts):
- Email a summary of what your organization achieved this year. If you haven't done this already, it's a fine way to tap into people's year-end spirit of reflection, while reminding them of the great work you do. Try to put the summary into colorful terms, using more stories than statistics. Post this on your Facebook page, too.
- Find a fun photo that donors haven't seen yet. Post this on your Facebook page, or if it's got a good enough story to go with it, email it too. If enough people are in the office, you could even take a group photo, with new-year greetings from all.
- Send a thank-you email. Remind donors of how all they've given so far has made a difference in the world.
- Identify a discrete, immediate, and still unmet need. For example, if you can spotlight one family who could start the new year with warm coats with your group's help, or one animal that needs surgery in order to find an adoptive home for the new year, send a quick email about it.