Five Maples’ Fundraising Blog

3 Steps to Maximize Year-End Giving

Even in December, there is still time for fundraising efforts that will have immediate and long-term impact. It’s crunch time, so you have to prioritize.

It’s not over yet…

The giving season isn’t over, as shown by gift data compiled from a number of our clients in the last four weeks of December 2016.

To make the most of your limited days left in the office, here’s an easy plan to connect with past and potential future donors before the year’s end. Start by generating a report with giving history for all who made gifts in any of the last three years (2016, 2015, or 2014) – including restricted, capital, and Annual Fund (AF). Don’t include event attendees or peer-to-peer donors.

You’ll want access to their:

  • lifetime total years of giving;
  • total $ given;
  • largest gift & the date of their largest gift;
  • most recent gift and date of their most recent gift;
  • AND THIS IS MOST IMPORTANT… the amounts and dates of their AF gifts for the current year and the past five years – 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012.*

Now you’re ready.

Here are the 3 Steps to boost your end-of-year results and the long-term growth of the Annual Fund:

1. Set up 3-4 email reminders for those who received your most recent appeal and haven’t responded. Schedule the emails between Thursday, Dec. 21st and Sunday, Dec. 31st. The first blast might coincide with the end-of-year appeal’s in-home date, with the others staggered until year’s end. If you can, segment the messaging by donor status – current year donors, lapsed 2016 donors, donors lapsed more than one year, and prospective donors.


2. Call donors whose 2016 anniversary dates have passed. Sort them by the size of their last gift, total lifetime giving, or their largest one-time gift. Whatever is easier. Starting at the top, reach out to as many as possible with a personal phone call in the remaining days.


3. Contact those with more than 5 years of giving whose last gift was in 2015 or 2014 – the once-loyal-but-now-lapsed donor. Send emails letting them know they have been missed and with specific encouragement to return. If you finish calls to the first group, call people in this group using the same priority.

Update your list daily so you and any involved staff or volunteers know if and when your lapsed donors renew their support. They also should be pulled from any email reminders you scheduled in Step 1.

Remember, recapturing recently lapsed donors before they lapse a third year will have a HUGE impact on your donor file and dollars raised going forward.

A 10% increase in donor retention can increase lifetime value of your donor database by 200%.
                                                       –Dr. Adrian Sargeant**

Call or email us for help with email copy or phone scripts.

* Note: You’ll want to identify those who have made multiple gifts in a year. For these, it will make sense to include their total amount of AF giving for the year. Their significance of an “anniversary” date will require interpretation.
**Dr. Adrian Sargeant (2001), cited here.

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Five Maples helps fundraisers save time, raise more money, and enjoy doing it! Give us a call today for a free consultation. Call Brett, our Director of Nonprofit Practice, at 800-437-7780 ext 102, or Email Us Today!

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