5 Things Smart Fundraisers Always Do in December


December is a wildly busy month for many fundraisers.

Year-end fundraising is closing out, and we are all stampeding towards our goals.

With things being so busy, where should you focus?

To help you, here are 5 things smart fundraisers always do in December.

1. Smart fundraisers pay the most attention to their top donors.

Since their time is really limited, these fundraisers have to know where to focus.

And where is that?

In FRONT of their major donors. Especially in December – with a special note, card, or little gift.

And if the donors  have not yet renewed their annual gift, then they remind them gently by saying,

“Are you planning to join us again this year-end? 

Takeaway: Focusing on your largest donors can make THE largest difference in your year-end fundraising results.

2. Smart fundraisers focus on renewing as many gifts as possible.

Pleeeezzze, pull a list from your database. Pull everyone who gave in 2016 but who has not yet given in 2017.

Add up the amount of funding that is just sitting there, waiting to be renewed. You may faint, because it’s so very much money!

Then pick yourself off the floor and get to work connecting with your “about to lapse” donors.

These donors are your tribe, right now. They are your inner circle.

They already believe in you. This is the easiest money to raise.

Takeaway: Spend your time focusing on your current supporters, and ask them to join your cause again this year with their generous support. 

3. Smart fundraisers “drop by” their largest donors’ offices or homes with a special token of appreciation.

If you possibly can, come up with something personal, like cookies. Or best of all, something created by one of your clients or beneficiaries.

Do NOT make it expensive or about a “thing.” It’s really about the heart and the message that your gift conveys.

Now, your donor may say,

“Gosh, you really don’t need to come see me.”

You can respond (if you legitimately can!), “I’ll just drop off  a special gift that was made for you by one of our children.”

My friends at the Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina  (killer fundraisers that they are) often bring by something that one of their foster kids has made.

Top Baptist Homes fundraiser, Brenda Gray, shared:

“We visit all our major donors at the end of the year with a handmade gift by the kids.

We run an all-out effort with 20 staff and board members making hundreds of visits in November and December.  

The whole purpose of visit is to drop by, and say thank you and how much we appreciate you.”

Takeaway: When you make these kinds of personal thank you’s, you don’t really have to ask for that year-end gift. The money just flows in. 

4. Send holiday cards or gifts that make donors say “awwwwww.”

When this happens, bingo! You have just touched your donor’s heart.

You have just made her happy.

I think we should ALL work toward the perfect moment when we can get our donor to say “awwwwww.”

You know what that is like.

It just comes from nowhere – and you have just deeply reached a special place inside your donor.

You have just connected her with your mission, your lovely work – bringing her surprise and delight.

Takeaway: Why not try to make YOUR holiday card the one card that goes up on your donor’s refrigerator because she loves it so much?

5. They remind donors about gifts of appreciated stock.

This year, with the US stock market at record highs, there are a lot of donors out there with highly appreciated stock.

Why is this a terrific time for donors to make gifts of stock?

Because the tax advantages to donors are huge. The donor can take a tax deduction for the full market value of the current high price.

This year, more than ever, smart donors will want to consider this option. They do love you. And if they are giving anyway, remind them of this option.

Takeaway: Just sweeten the pot and remind them about the super tax advantages of stock gifts.