As any non-profit guru or, for that matter, financial analyst will tell you, the fourth fiscal quarter of any year—October, November and December—is the hottest time for garnering monetary support from your donor base. After all, people are anxious to max out those yearly tax write-offs, and the general aura of the holiday seasons lends an air of generosity and caring.
However, the question to ask is this: is your organization prepared and ideally optimized to take advantage of last quarter giving? Are donors redirected to a solid and dependable third-party payment site? Can they make donations via mobile devices seamlessly? Is your pitch for year-end donations clearly stated on your website? Non-profit expert John Haydon offers some simple tips to ensure you’re ready for the potential windfall of year-end giving.
- Haydon suggests that allowing supporters to make donations directly on your website lends an aura of legitimacy and trustworthiness, rather than redirecting them to PayPal or another third-party site. If you’re organization is using a non-profit software platform, check to see if it allows for a donation tool—it will help keep users on your site throughout the donation process and give your group a positive image.
- If your website doesn’t utilize responsive design—which ensures it will render correctly across the spectrum of smartphone and tablet devices—make sure it does immediately. The majority of online donors use a mobile device exclusively, and nothing is more frustrating to a potential donor than the inability to make a monetary donation quickly and easily.
- Make sure the story of your non-profit is streamlined and engaging. Someone looking to make a donation can be emotionally turned off if they don’t feel personally vested in your organization’s cause, so be sure they understand the importance of what you do and how their money is making a difference.
- Make a direct connection between the donor and your non-profit’s mission. A good donation page “connects the dots between cause and effect, gift and impact,” says Haydon. So when you make your ask, you’re shouldn’t be requesting that a donor help your specific group but rather help with your end goal, whether it be saving wildlife, feeding the hungry, housing the homeless etc.
- Give your call for donations a sense of urgency by offering a limited-time incentive such as gift-matching (ideal if you can partner with a large corporation or even a handful of small local businesses) or event-based opportunity (such as free tickets to a gala fundraiser as part of the donation).
No matter your strategy for optimizing year-end donations, always keep in the mind that the fourth quarter is when people are at their most generous, so any appeal should speak to and leverage that generosity through every aspect of your marketing efforts.