Fundraising Do’s and Don’ts for December

December is a wildly busy month for many fundraisers.

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

With things being so busy, where should you focus?

To help you, here are my top Fundraising Do’s and Don’ts for December. 

Do:  Renew your largest donors from last year.

Most importantly, be sure they are asked AGAIN to renew their gift.

There’s a lot of funding on the table right now that has not yet been renewed. 

Who knows. Perhaps that’s all it would take to zoom over goal this year-end.

Just simply renew your top 10 donors from last year! 

Focusing attention on major donors is always at the top of my fundraising do’s and don’ts for December!

Don’t Ignore your major donors.

Do: Treat them like the insiders they are.

That means you touch base with them over the holidays. See how they are doing.

Drop off a simple gift – nothing fancy! Let them know you care about them.

Do: Remind them about gifts of appreciated stock.

Remember, only 1% of the assets in the US are held in cash. The rest is in stocks, real estate, and other forms of investments. 

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There are terrific tax advantages to donors when they make a gift of their highly appreciated stock.

Don’t: Send standardized appeals to your top donors.

Do craft very personalized notes to these lovely people who are funding your mission. Include an ask if it’s appropriate.

But make it a very, very customized ask.

I shared how to “ask” your major donors at year-end here. 

Don’t: Send a boring greeting card to your donor – one that is all about YOU.

Don’t send a card that is a picture of your staff – all wearing holiday garb and smiles and saying “happy holidays! (Yawn.).

Instead, send a card that reflects your mission.

For example, how about a card drawn by a kid your organization serves?

  • If you are an arts organization, perhaps a card from the ballerinas, or the actors.
  • A school can send a card from the students.
  • A hospital can send a card from the doctors and nurses.

Do make your greeting card about your work.

Above all, the card needs to trigger a happy emotion in your donor’s heart.

Don’t: Shower your donors with facts and data.

Do shower your donors with love and warm wishes.

Yes, you’re sending out appeals as hard as you can, but too many facts and data can overwhelm your donor.

Many donor studies show that donors give out of emotion – after you make a compelling case of need.  

Don’t: Send out a complex appeal that’s hard to understand and even harder to read.

Do be sure your last-minute appeals are extremely easy to read and understand.

Make sure they’re skimmable because donors are moving quickly.

Your ask needs to be simple, straightforward, and tied to some measure of impact.  

Don’t Have a messy digital donation page.

Make sure your web donation page is easy to use.

For example, the more boxes you ask the donor to fill out, the less likely she is to complete her donation.

In other words, the more complex your donation process is, the less likely you are to receive gifts. 

Do: Make it super easy for donors, making last-minute online gifts.

When you make them hunt for the “donate” tab, you run the risk of frustrating them.

Make the process as calm as possible. And make it a happy experience for them.

When you make last-minute online giving an easy and efficient joy, you inspire them to give again next year.

Do: Stay sane.

Find some quiet and Joy for yourself this holiday season. :)

Bottom line: Fundraising Do’s and Don’ts for December.

You’re almost done with the fundraising season.

These last two weeks are the most important of the year. You can do it! :)

Do: Join our major gift coaching group for 2024.

If you and your team want to build a strong major gift program and bring in long-term funding, then consider making the commitment to join us.

Check out the major gift coaching program details and send me your Letter of Interest. We’ll hop on the phone to see if Major Gifts Coaching is right for you and your team.

If you get accepted into the program, you’ll have four months of personal attention and training that can change fundraising forever at your organization.

Let’s get you set up for serious major funding in 2024!