Tis the Season of Giving Thanks

I don’t know about you, but it seems to me like the holiday season began back in September this year.

There were ornaments on sale before my Labor Day leftovers were gone, the halls were decked before Halloween arrived, and the traffic around Lenox and Phipps has been gridlocked since October. Also of note, I’ve read that Hanukkah and Thanksgiving Day are on the same day for the first time in many decades.

All of this goes to mean that consumers have approached holiday mode at rapid speed, which directly correlates with year-end giving for nonprofit organizations.

This also means that, this year, there is one less week between Thanksgiving and Christmas than normal, and we better all get a move on!

If you’re like most charitable organizations, you receive a majority of your contributions in the last quarter of the year, and you’re probably about to gear up for your biggest month of the year.  So, let’s do all we can to ensure those gifts are maximized.

A live year end appeal discussion presented by the Chronicle of Philanthropy this month focused on specific ways organizations can enhance their year-end appeals. Here are a few take-aways to get you through the rest of this year:

  • Appeal to your donor’s heart through stories or examples.
  • Follow up on the story with proof (statistics, numbers) that your organization is achieving its goals and mission.
  • Consider sending email appeals throughout the month of December.
  • Most importantly, remember to say “Thank You.”  And not just to those who give a gift – thank ALL your constituents. The Chronicle discussion pointed out the importance of this, as it shows your accomplishments to everyone, not just those who gave.

Saying thank you in a nonprofit setting is a wonderful opportunity to highlight how the gifts you have been given are able to impact and benefit the lives of the people you serve. Use this story of generosity to educate your donors and constituents on how they can help.

It doesn’t matter what vehicle you use for contact – send cards, place phone calls, shoot someone a quick email or text message – just be sure that you are giving thanks to all those who touch your organization.

It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the hectic season, so be sure to take a little time to extend your gratefulness to those who support you!