A mouse click hand tied with a bow to symbolize online fundraising at year endAre you looking at the next 3 weeks as time wasted for fundraising? Are excuses like “Everyone is going to a holiday party” and “No one will want to hear from me” filling your mind and mouth?

Stop it.

A recent seven year analysis of online giving conducted by Network for Good indicates that over 30% of all online giving happens in December. Better still, people that made their first gift in December gave 52% more over the next three years.

This is a month to be paying attention to year-end giving! In addition to your normal nonprofit social media updates, take these four steps.

4 of the most important things to do this December

  1. Keep making phone calls and visits

    Last week, I reminded my Fundraising Kick subscribers to keep up the habits they been building all year. Whatever your normal phone calling and visit rhythm has been, keep it up in December. It’s easy to lie to yourself that people aren’t around. But they are. And many of them are working most of the month. So go out and meet with them while they’re at their most generous! They may not give to you when you meet, but they will always be able to give to you online when they get back to the office.

  2. Polish your online system

    Make sure your online giving is an easy process. Go ahead and try it right now.

    • Is your donate page easy to find?
    • Is the link to that page easy for you to copy and send to a friend?
    • Can you put in your credit card information within 1 or 2 clicks from every page of your site?

    What does the overall experience feel like to you? And what might it feel like for a donor stumbling on your site or referred to you by a friend.

    According to the Network for Good survey, the primetime for online giving is December 31 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. in the donor’s time zone. Take time this week to make sure your system is ready for them.

    While you’re at it, make sure the information for making a gift of stock is clearly detailed on your site somewhere easy to find. (I wouldn’t put it on the donation page itself.) Be sure to include your broker and account numbers. Ask yourself, “Does this page have all the information I would need to be able to make a gift of stock at 3 a.m. in the morning on December 31st?” If the answer is “no,” fix it.

  3. Clean up your email signature block

    I’ve been an advocate for years about effectively using your email signature block for fundraising. The signature “block” is the information that appears after your message. When you look at a message you sent, what is below the “Sincerely, [Your Name]”? That’s your signature block.

    While you want to keep it brief, you should have a “call to action” in your file. Somethings as simple as “Give today!” with a link to your donation page. I love switching my “call to action” in my email signature to reflect the next big thing (a special project, a fundraising event, the theme of the direct mail appeal, etc.)

    Bonus tip: Be sure to include your email address in your signature file. Even though it will appear at the top of the message, people often look for it down with the contact information in the signature block.

  4. Give your donation link out in your voice mail

    When I worked as a nonprofit employee on the fundraising staff, I knew that I wasn’t going to get a full week of vacation between Christmas and New Years. Others would, but not me. This is prime fundraising time.

    Hordes of people won’t come into your office, but the few that do, or the few phone calls you receive, will make your time well worth it.

    For the times you’re not in, be sure to add to your voice mail message

    “If you’d like to make a year-end gift, go to [specific URL of your donation page]. If you’d like to make a gift of stock, go to the [general fundraising section name] of [your organizations general URL].”

    You not only want to make it incredibly simple for people to make a gift. This strategic use of your voice mail will plant seeds for people who hadn’t yet considered making a gift. When they’re at their most generous time of the year.

What else do you do?

Those are my four tips for making sure your online year-end giving is ready for the larger proportion of gifts this month. What advice would you add?

For more strategy on fundraising online check out the training Fundraising on the Web: it’s more than just a birthday wish. For ideas on how to fundraise in general, check out The Essential Fundraising Handbook.

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