We are just coming off the holiday weekend and we’re gearing up for the end of the year. If you’re anything like me, you’re thinking about all of the things you want to accomplish in the new year. December is also the biggest giving month of the year; more than 30% of all donations are going to hit in this month with 12% hitting the last 24 hours of the year. Many times, we feel like we have to beg for those dollars. In this episode, I’m going to give you some tips so you can avoid begging at the end of the year and what you can do to ensure your success.
If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, you know that I teach the 7 steps to FREEDOM:
- Focus Your Vision
- Run Your Research
- Enlist Your Team
- Enhance Your Brand
- Deploy Your Team
- Organize Your Ask
- Make Your Difference
Today we are going to concentrate on enhancing your brand. What is your brand? What is it that you’re doing to stand out in the community, region, or country you’re in? If your brand has nothing to do with begging, then we should probably put the begging process aside. If your brand is focused on abundance, changing lives and making a difference and you are begging for money, then you’re off brand. So how do you avoid this? You must have a plan.
When I worked for the American Cancer Society, my signature event was held in August. In the month of November, I did a thank you event, we hosted a golf tournament in the spring and a children’s party in the summer leading into the big event in August. December should fall right in line with a big push to your signature event. For me, I was really focused on getting my sponsors re-upped for the next year. I wasn’t doing a heavy push to send us a check in December. Now, that’s not to say you can’t do a year-end appeal, but it should all lead into your signature event/fundraiser. This is how you stop feeling like you have to get this big donation in before December 31st. Remember, no one likes a charity that reeks of desperation. This is the easiest way to push potential donors away from your organization. You must have a fundraising plan for the entire year, not just the last month.
I want you to make sure you’re top of mind. So, if you’re going to send out that year-end appeal, you need to tell people about what a great year you’ve had. If you’ve never done it before, now is the time to start a new tradition. Your donors like to see financial reports and see what you’ve been doing. Remember, it’s better to overcommunicate rather than not communicate at all. If you are not thanking your donors for their donations as well as communicating what you’ve been up to, there’s a good chance that they will not come back. This is how you fall into the trap of begging for money; always having your hand out and freaking out in the month of December. Be intentional. Be sure that your donors know they can expect to hear from you. Whether it’s weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc., that’s your brand; no one can tell you how to run your organization but you.
I want you to pause now and think about your cause. What does your calendar look like for 2020? What are the things you’re going to do in the upcoming year so that next year you are not frantic and begging for donations in December? I encourage you to reach out to your donors and let them know about what big plans you have for 2020 and how they can get involved.
If you are thinking about putting on a signature fundraiser, applications for the Fundraising Freedom Academy Class of 2020 are open. If you are raising $50,000 or more and would like to know more about the Academy, you can apply at http://bit.ly/applyforFRFA. From there, my assistant will set up a 20-minute conversation with me to see if you’re a good fit and you’ll get the rest of the details on how to sign up.
If you missed the webinar I hosted, you can watch the recording at http://bit.ly/successfulfundraiser.