Jonathan, when your latest blog post opened with “Many of you are home this week trying not to think about work (but checking emails nevertheless)” my immediate reaction was “I hope that’s not true!”
If anyone in the nonprofit world needs to be working every day of the last two weeks of the year, it’s (at least some of) the leadership in the Development Office. Why? Because you could be losing donations to your organization, and in the process, frustrating your most loyal donors.
According to Charity Navigator’s Digital Giving Index, 12% of all annual giving occurs on the last three days of the year …..what happens if you’re not there to take their call? Or your website goes down?
In my experience, your supporters, even the most loyal, often don’t get around to making their giving decisions until the very last minute. This is especially true this year, with stock market gains making gifts of appreciated assets attractive, and a new tax bill creating a lot of uncertainty over the donor’s ability to deduct charitable gifts.
Just Friday afternoon, I received a call from a long time, modest supporter. It went like this: “I’ve been meaning to do this for a very long time.” The result? A mid five-figure gift from someone whose previous giving to us had been a few hundred each year. That same day, our office received a call from another donor, frustrated that the local college was closed until the New Year, and she was not going to be able to make the rather substantial (five figure) stock gift to them that she had planned.
And while this year is exceptional, it’s not unique. Early in my fundraising career (we’re talking 1990s now), I was the lone staff person working in the small nonprofit’s office two days before the year end. Answering the phone that day led to a $10,000 gift walking in the door from someone who had never made a gift to our organization.
I know we’re all ready for a break after the hectic activity of the last quarter, but please, if you care about your organization and your cause, hang in there just a bit longer – even if you’re not busy accepting last minute gifts, use the quiet time to focus on your plan for next year.
Sally Cross, Vice President, Philanthropy
Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley
(Thank you Sally for your end of year wisdom!)
Read my article in the October issue of Planned Giving Today for my own year-end donor stories!