Did your year-end donors give their one gift last spring?

Maybe you’ve heard someone say something like this:

Our donors came through for us last spring and summer with extraordinary giving. Now we’re really afraid that was it for the year — maybe they just made their usual year-end gift back then! We’re going to have the worst December ever!

How likely is this scenario?

While it’s true that some donors are clearly in the habit of giving once a year — and that habit is more common among high-end donors — I’d rate the scenario as very unlikely.

Except for organizations who decide for donors that they’ve already given their one gift of the year, and thus don’t ask for year-end donations.

Those organizations are going to have the worst December ever.

Here’s some help from the Passionate Giving Blog at Early Gifts — Year-End Worry for having a great December — along with a lot of other great months, this year and every year:

  1. Move away from the annual mentality. Donors give because they want good things to happen. Not because of a calendar. Talk to them about making good things happen.
  2. Bond the donor to a program category that matches their passions and interests. Find out what they care about and connect with them about that. You’ll find them a lot less one-and-done oriented!
  3. Tell the donor what needs to be done. If you treat their annual donation like it’s a budget item, they will too. Ask for donations that result in action!
  4. Let all of the above drive the cadence, frequency and timing of your asks. Will all your once-a-year donors turn into 2+ donors? No. But if you make your relationship with donors about the things they help make possible, you’ll raise a lot more money than if you focus on the calendar.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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