Every kind of business requires funds to cover its day-to-day operating costs. Non profits work the same way, except that they’re run solely by donations and grants. With little to no financial reserves, it is extremely vital for nonprofits to continually review their fundraising policies in order to maintain a steady flow of donations.
Fundraising strategies are devised according to market trends. One key trend to notice is that people tend to donate more generously during the holiday season, with 80% larger donations during the holidays.
This can be explained. The holiday season nurtures compassion and empathy in people. The Christmas Spirit has a lasting impact and instills the desire for good in people which is why they tend to donate generously.
But with most people busy and exhausted at the end of December, the start of January is a great time to plan holiday-themed events and analyze existing strategies to pull more funds for your non profit.
With tight budgets and limited resources, it is very important to make the most of seasonal sentiments and work them to your advantage. Here is how the holiday spirit can help gain more donations:
1. Retain and engage donors
In 2017, Americans contributed about $410 billion to charity in one way or the other, resulting in an increase of 5% from the previous year. Based on these statistics, this trend is expected to grow every year.
The holiday season tends to bring people together and non profits can use this opportunity to connect with their sponsors. The holidays make for a good opportunity to retract donors and increase funds.
The best way to go about it is to host a dinner for your donors. Donors like to feel valued and needed. Through this event, you can appreciate their efforts which will, in turn, strengthen their loyalty. Such an event should highlight the efforts that donor funds have made possible so your donors can quantify the impact of their contributions.
Non profits cannot afford poor client engagement. As a rule of thumb, note that constant performance updates allow non profits to retain previous benefactors and attract new ones. Showcase your efforts throughout the year so you can increase the chances of receiving grants.
2. Run fundraisers and holiday-themed parties
As people feel more compassionate during the holidays, conduct fundraisers across different localities, or even countries if your budget allows. Engaging people from different regions broaden your outreach and also multiplies donations in the long run.
Additionally, consider hosting holiday-themed dinners at the end of the year. You can hold a new-years’ fundraising dinner and plan interactive games to attract more people. They’d be able to have fun and contribute to a noble cause – these will be a hit!
As a word of caution, monitor work tasks more diligently at fundraisers since these are handled by volunteers mostly. Since they aren’t under a contractual obligation, it is critical to ensure that they follow instructions. Devise a method for tracking their functions and a neat way to do this is to deploy an asset management system where all volunteer activities can be well-documented.
3. Expect Visitors
You don’t necessarily have to invite people for funds. Those expensive adverts finally pay off during the holidays. Someone who was feeling particularly charitable saw that facebook sponsored ad you spent money on and decided to pay you a visit. People want to choose the right vessels for their hard-earned money so expect them this season and prepare well in advance.
A dedicated information desk is vital at all times but more so during the holiday season. Prepare flyers to hand out to visitors and devise a progress report for the past year. You can highlight any innovative campaigns that you ran over through the course of the year or any ongoing activities that people can volunteer for.
Presenting all your efforts would signify that if a potential donor was to contribute to your non profit, their money will have a material impact. You can also consider sharing an individual’s story as this evokes feelings of empathy in people; it helps people try on a needy person’s shoes and be driven to take an action.
4. Uphold legal standards this holiday season
All non profits should actively try to maintain transparency in their operations throughout the year and especially so, during the holiday season. People are likely to withhold contributions if they feel that they can’t trust the organization so it is important to highlight your credibility and your efforts. Complying with legal standards will help you in this regard.
For starters, be sure that you do hold a 501(c)(3) tax exemption status and are registered with an agent. This allows you to qualify for a charity organization and acts as a credibility claim for donors.
In addition to that, run internal and external audits during the holidays to ensure that all legal standards are being met by your organization. Being in line with them would be a great way to kick off 2019.
Diligent compliance saves you from a lot of penalties while acting as a morale booster for contributors. You can also uphold accountability standards and help establish a trustworthy name.
Make the most of the holidays to start 2019 the right way
Non profit organizations require a robust management structure because they operate on limited resources and have to optimize utilization. Setting yearly funds’ targets acts as an incentive and allows you to measure business progress at any point in the year.
The holidays are a great time to analyze last year’s progress and make changes accordingly. Start by developing a budget for the annual expenditure and be on the lookout for any deviations in the new year. This will let you examine where extra resources are getting deployed and explore the cause.
Next, you should strictly adhere to the board policies for funds and endowment management. This helps lower chances of fraudulent activities. Lastly, work on devising an evaluation system to report the impact of each event. Such statistics can act as a credibility factor and aid future fundraising programs.
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