donor relations

Small Businesses, Charitable Contributions, and the IRS

No one really likes to think about paying taxes, but everyone likes to think about tax deductions. And for you small business owners who want to give back, but still need to mind your budget, my friend, Deb Meyer, has some great advice for you.

As you know, I’m a big fan of small businesses partnering with nonprofits and the for-profit social enterprise model. Each is a terrific way to make money and do good. So, if you fall into one of those two categories, Deb will give you the low-down on what charitable contributions look like for businesses, including examples to make it clear.

And for the nonprofits reading this post, she’ll also give you some tips for working with donors to keep them happy and informed.

Tax time doesn’t have to be your favorite time, but this will certainly make it easier. And if you can get a little reward for being kind, why not?

Small Businesses, Charitable Contributions, and the IRS

As a CPA financial planner, I’m well-versed in charitable giving strategies for individuals. If you give personally to a charitable cause and itemize deductions, there’s an added benefit of your generosity: a tax deduction! 

But what if you’re a social enterprise or small business owner who wants to use the business to give back? The rules aren’t quite as straightforward as they are for individuals. Even nonprofits can benefit from learning these rules and share them with potential donors.

Definition of Business Expense

From a tax standpoint, your business expense must be ordinary and necessary. Ordinary means the expense is common and widely accepted in your business. On a related note, a necessary expense is one that is helpful and appropriate for your business.

Let’s dive further into IRS Publication 535 for guidance on whether charitable contributions are deductible business expenses. Cash payments to an organization, charitable or otherwise, may be deductible as business expenses if the payments aren’t charitable contributions or gifts and are directly related to your business. It is a bit counterintuitive, don’t you agree?

As an individual, you make a charitable contribution out of the kindness of your heart and may receive an additional tax benefit as a bonus. Within a corporate environment, generosity is not the name of the game.  Rather, there should be a business motive behind the transaction.

3 Examples of Deductible Business Expenses

EXAMPLE #1:

Your roofing business wants to run an advertisement in your church’s bulletin and the cost is $1,000 for the year. You pursue the ad because your business is looking to grow its customer base. The business is eligible for a $1,000 tax deduction, just like any other marketing expense.

EXAMPLE #2:

One of your clients runs an annual golf tournament to honor the life of her deceased son. You, a small business owner, are invited to attend the golf tournament. You buy a single ticket to play in a foursome. Is your ticket cost tax deductible on the business return?

Probably not, unless you can provide a reason for the business purpose behind the event. 

Rather, take your “business” hat off for a moment and see if this qualifies for a personal charitable contribution. Look at the value received from your ticket. The tax-deductible amount is the portion in excess of the value received (i.e. if the ticket cost is $80 and value received is $50, you could claim $30 of charitable contribution on Schedule A of your personal tax return).

The better option in this scenario? Your company could sponsor a hole or provide an item for the silent auction. That cost is fully tax deductible for the business because sponsorship is a marketing tool. 

EXAMPLE #3:

Your brick-and-mortar store is suffering due to lack of foot traffic. The local Chamber of Commerce unleashes a solid plan to increase the number of visitors within a one-mile radius of your business. Your business gives $5,000 to support this excellent initiative. There is a marketing purpose behind this expense, so it is considered tax deductible.

Commonalities Among Deductible Business Expenses

In each of the examples above, there is a common thread for the small business owner to claim a tax deduction: advertising. For-profit businesses are in business to make money.

Advertising or marketing expenses are deductible because they increase brand awareness. Sales increase as more people learn of your business service or product. 

Just because you own a for-profit business does not mean you need to leave your philanthropic heart at the door. In fact, profitable small business owners can give at even greater levels than traditional employees. Your business has unlimited earnings potential! 

Additionally, as demonstrated in the second example, a charitable contribution with no business purpose may be tax-deductible personally. 


Claiming Personal Charitable Deductions

Unless your business is classified as a C Corporation, the underlying business profit eventually flows to your personal U.S. income tax return. Sole proprietors file Schedule C of the federal form 1040, while business partners in a partnership generate Schedule K-1s from their business tax return.

One of my clients runs a pizza franchise, and they periodically donate old inventory to a nonprofit organization. The business doesn’t receive any publicity from these donations, so we do not deduct the cost of donated inventory on the business tax return. Nonetheless, we take the value of the charitable contribution and report it on Schedule A of the business owner’s personal tax return.


How the TCJA Impacts Charitable Contributions

Sweeping U.S. tax reform, known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed late in December 2017 and took effect for the 2018 tax year. This groundbreaking law welcomed a host of tax-related changes, most notably the increase of the standard deduction on personal tax returns to $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for married couples filing jointly. 

Although actual figures are not yet in, the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that only 12% of U.S. taxpayers will itemize deductions for the 2018 tax year.

This is especially concerning to nonprofits who rely on financial support from individuals and businesses alike. You no longer receive a personal tax break for charitable contributions if you take the standard deduction. While that won’t deter all families from giving, it may result in lower overall contributions.

Thus, BIGGER IS BETTER. There are smart ways for individuals to stack their charitable contributions in one tax year (to get the deduction) and then decrease their giving in the subsequent tax year.

Alternatively, donor advised funds are great tools for families who want to give substantially to one or more charities over several years and ensure they receive a tax deduction. Consult this article for additional strategies to maximize personal charitable contributions.


Action Items for Nonprofits

What is a nonprofit organization supposed to do with this information?

First and foremost, educate. 

Help current and potential donors understand the rules around charitable giving—both personally and within a for-profit business structure. Provide concrete examples for them, specifying when it may be OK to claim a tax deduction.

If you’d rather not provide examples for liability reasons, point donors to this article or to a qualified tax or financial professional. This professional should be carefully vetted in advance to provide deeper guidance on the nuances of charitable contributions.  


You Can Be Kind and Still Get a Tax Break

Knowledge is power. It pains me to tell a new client that his or her business charitable contribution does not qualify as a tax deduction. There are ways to give back and legitimately claim the tax break, but you must know the rules. 

Having read this article in its entirety, you now understand the basics. Now go and share them! 


Deb Meyer

Deborah L. Meyer, CPA/PFS and CFP®, is a fee-only financial planner and the author of Redefining Family Wealth: A Parent’s Guide to Purposeful Living. Deborah is also the owner of WorthyNest®, an independent advisory firm dedicated to helping parents build wealth. She is a recipient of the 2018 AICPA Standing Ovation Award for Personal Financial Planning. Deborah has been featured in The Wall Street JournalForbes, Yahoo! Finance and CNN Business and is a regular contributor to Kiplinger. Outside of work, Deborah spends time with her husband, Bryan, and three sons.

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PIN THIS POST FOR LATER:

No one really likes to think about paying taxes, but everyone likes to think about tax deductions. And for you small business owners who want to give back, but still need to mind your budget, my friend, Deb Meyer, has some great advice for you.

Kristi Porter, founder of Signify

I’m Kristi Porter, and I help cause-focused organizations understand and execute effective marketing campaigns so they can move from stressed to strategic. Your resources may be limited, but your potential isn’t. Whether you’re a nonprofit, social enterprise, or small business who wants to give back, I’ll show you how to have a bigger impact.


How to Wow Supporters After Your Event

If your nonprofit has a big fundraising event on the calendar, and it probably does, this is one post you won’t want to miss! Event planning is extremely popular in the nonprofit sphere, but it also takes a lot of effort and time, am I right?

You absolutely want to make the experience top-notch for current and prospective donors. Please do that first. However, there’s a vital piece of event planning that often gets left out: the follow up. It’s not the most exciting thing to talk about, but I can’t stress it enough.

Having a solid follow-up plan is part of what makes an event strategic for your organization, and not just something you do every year.

It’s also what increases your return on investment (ROI), especially considering events may not be as profitable in the long-term as you might think.

You’ve put so much hard work into planning this event, and an excellent follow-up strategy makes it more effective. What you say and how you say it could mean additional donations, recurring donations, and higher attendance at the next event. That’s why today’s post matters.

And it comes to you from my new friend Erin at Funraise, which a super sweet nonprofit fundraising software built by nonprofit people. (I’ve taken the backstage tour, and it’s pretty awesome!) Okay, back to today’s post. I think you’re going to like it!

How to Wow Supporters After Your Event

Congrats, Fundraiser, the big event day is behind you! Hopefully, you’re propping up your feet and giving yourself a pat on the back for a ginormous job well done. Fundraising events are no small feat, and it can feel awesome when that behemoth is behind you. After you’ve taken some well deserved R&R, it’s time for the next phase of the event. No, we don’t mean cleaning up/organizing the event supplies that've taken over your office. It’s time for event follow up that'll wow supporters and attendees.

Attending an event should be an excellent experience for supporters, and extending that warm, fuzzy feeling beyond the event is an exciting bonus for them. It’s a chance for you to build BFF-status relationships with donors.

Follow up is critical: not only does it give you an opportunity to extend a heartfelt thanks, but it also opens the door for you to establish your nonprofit as an organization that genuinely cares about relationships. And that’s something you can take to the bank.

Follow up strategies for 1 to 7 days after the event

The first phase of event follow up is what happens immediately afterward. Typically this is a thank you for attending and donating (because they donated... right?). If your organization wants to build relationships beyond the event, this is a must.

Here are some ways to say thank you that'll make a lasting impression.


Pick up the phone and say thank you

Calling attendees is an easy thing to do the day after the event that leaves a big impression on donors. If you had a lot of attendees and donors, prioritize your call list by first following up with donors who made the most substantial gifts or strategize by calling first-time donors. If you need help getting through the list, ask a board member to come in for an hour to make some calls.


Send a day-after email to everyone who attended

Use this email to share how much money the event raised and what the funds will be earmarked for. This touchpoint allows you to show attendees the next steps for engagement, such as signing up for your email list or following your organization on social media. Schedule the email in advance so you can relax a tiny bit post-event.


Record personal thank you videos

Did you know there are video services that can help you make a custom thank you video for each attendee and supporter? Services like BombBomb make it possible, and it’s a delightful surprise in someone’s inbox. Short, personalized videos are an unexpectedly wonderful alternative to mass emails if you’re looking for something a little more personal.


Mail a handwritten thank you note

How awesome is it to get a card in the mail these days? Much more awesome than getting endless flyers from the local pizza joint. Make your supporters’ day by sending them handwritten thank you notes after the event. You could even create a custom postcard that includes a powerful image or two from the event, so they have a memento.

Bonus: This is a great engagement opportunity for your board members. Ask them to come by the office and write 10 cards each. You’ll be done in no time.


Jump on the text train

Using the same service that you send text messages with, send out a quick "TY for the amazing night! We hit our fundraising goal!" text. You can point supporters to your website to check out groovy event photos or tease them with the exact amount that was raised. (Sneaky tactic—if you didn't hit your goal, they may send a post-event donation.)

Tip: It can be helpful to block off time in your calendar in advance for event follow up. Also, if you anticipate having a lot of follow up to do, schedule emails, order mailers, or set up text messages before the event. Organize some volunteer or board members ahead of time to lend a hand.

Keeping in touch and building relationships

Follow up with supporters doesn’t end after the initial post-event thank you. You’re now on the path to creating life-long relationships with them, so it’s essential to have a game plan. Here's how you can keep in touch with supporters to build relationships that outlast the event.


Send a survey

It’s super valuable to know what supporters thought of your event. Feedback from people who were there means you'll be able to plan a solidly successful event year after year. Asking for feedback also signals to supporters that you value their opinions and feedback, which in turn builds trust. Put together a short survey that you can send them in the weeks after the event, or as you prepare for next year's big event.


Share impact stories

We heart storytelling. Sharing stories that make your donors’ hearts flutter is a great way to build transparency and show donors the impact of their giving. If you fundraised for a specific initiative or program at your event, find a story related to that.


Ask your supporters to share their giving stories

The social proof of giving stories is solid gold. In your follow up with supporters, connecting your supporters with the results of their giving and having them share is something you can do to engage them and recognize their support.


Add a personal note on future snail mailings

You might send event attendees snail mail down the road: an annual report, a newsletter, or even a direct mail piece. Personalize it by adding a short handwritten note, making the mailer feel less like a mass blast, and more like recognition of the relationship you have with attendees.


Create a video

Video is an awesome way to connect with supporters and attendees. You could create a special year-end video to talk about your organization’s impact and tie in the role your event played in it. These days, video doesn’t have to have a slick production value to be impactful so pull out your smartphone and hit record.

As you prepare for your event, you probably have pre-event communications and marketing planned. Consider expanding this plan to include post-event follow up for at least three months following the event so you can organize your follow up strategy ahead of time.

Events are an excellent way for your organization to build community, grow awareness, and gain support. Capitalize on the momentum from your event with follow up that shows supporters that you're more than just a one-note organization. Your nonprofit values relationships and you’re in it for the long haul.

If you’re serious about becoming an event follow-up master, check out Funraise’s Events & Ticketing solution where nonprofits can easily set up follow-up email automations via seamless integrations with MailChimp, Constant Contact, and other email marketing platforms. Also manage everything from event registration and ticketing to collecting donations, all in your donor CRM. No more letting prime relationship-building opportunities slip through your fingers!


Erin Booker of Funraise

Erin Booker is Head of Content at Funraise. Funraise provides innovative and friendly fundraising technology built on a foundation of nonprofit experience. We've found a way to raise the funds and the fun.


Visit www.funraise.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn!



PIN THIS POST FOR LATER:

Having a solid follow-up plan is part of what makes an event strategic for your nonprofit, and not just something you do every year.

Kristi Porter, founder of Signify

I’m Kristi Porter, and I help cause-focused organizations understand and execute effective marketing campaigns so they can move from stressed to strategic. Your resources may be limited, but your potential isn’t. Whether you’re a nonprofit, social enterprise, or small business who wants to give back, I’ll show you how to have a bigger impact.


Note: I’m an affiliate for Funraise, which means I may get a small commission from sales purchased through this site. But I only recommend products and services I think are valuable!

How to Communicate with Year-End Donors in the New Year

Whew—you made it! It was a crazy, busy season, but you crossed the threshold into the New Year. Congratulations!

So, once you’ve wrapped up your year-end giving, you can sit back and relax come January, right? Welllll, not quite. I realize you could probably already use a vacation, but one of your best bets for building momentum and donor retention in the first quarter is to build on your efforts in the last one.

And while I sincerely hope that your nonprofit reached or surpassed your end of year giving goals, these strategies can be implemented even if you didn’t. Either way, they’ll set you up for better months ahead.

How to Communicate with Year-End Donors in the New Year

Make Good on Your Promises

First of all, it’s incredibly important to make good on any promises from last year. Leftovers tend to start stinking, am I right?

This could include reports, updates, or any other documentation that you owe your donor base. For example, I’ve seen annual gala sponsorship levels that include quarterly reports to major sponsors and donors. If you’ve got something like that on your plate, take action now before another, “more important” task comes along.

And if you didn’t release an annual report as part of your year-end fundraising campaign, this can be another great tool to start the New Year. Show off the impact your work is having, while highlighting opportunities for growth and engagement.

Keeping and fulfilling any promises you made to donors, sponsors, and partners is just one more way you can prove that you’re trustworthy, responsible, and deserving of their time and investment.

(Tip: If at all possible, never let them have to ask you for this information. That looks bad. Do everything you can to put the information or resources in their hands first. If there’s going to be a delay, communicate that so they don’t have to wonder or, worse, think you forgot.)

Send Those Shout Out’s, High Five’s, and Horray’s

Don’t forget to celebrate those victories! As someone who can easily dismiss an achievement, especially a small one, and move on to the next thing, I encourage you to take the win every time.

Better yet—share it with your fan base! If you met your fundraising goal and are now able to provide more products and/or services to those who benefit from your work, let everyone know! Send out an email blast, post it on social media, host a Facebook Live, release carrier pigeons, shout it from the rooftops, or do whatever you need to do to let your fans and followers know they played a part in getting you there.

This is your chance to say, “We did it!” And when you tell them exactly how those funds will be used, you not only instill a sense of pride in your contributors, but you’ll subconsciously encourage them to give again!

But let’s say you didn’t meet you goals. What then? Well, don’t take that as your cue to forego any updates. You still need to do that, but you’ll obviously need to tailor the message. You can send out a thank you, and tell people what’s on the horizon. Remind them of what’s at stake, and how you plan on serving people this year. Get them excited for the future, and state how they can be a part of your incredible work.

Keeping your fans in the loop is one sure-fire step toward donor retention. When people don’t know how their money is used, don’t know who is being served, and don’t know what’s going on, they are far more likely to take their hard-earned money to someone who can check those boxes for them. So, stay in touch!

(Tip: If you’ve been lax on your marketing and communication in the past, use these kinds of updates to get you back on track in the New Year. Update, rinse, and repeat. Make it a habit you’ll keep going forward. And if you’re not sure what to send them, I’ve got a few ideas.)

Pencil In Your VIPs

Always strike while the iron is hot, as they say, but particularly when it comes to your largest contributors. Take a look back at the previous year (or years), and identify who gave the most, either in dollars or in-kind. Then, get these people on your calendar.

If they’re local, take them to coffee or lunch. If they’re not, opt for a phone call, or even better, a video chat where you can look them in the eye. But make these interactions personal on some level, and don’t just lump them in to a mass email.

Use the opportunities to say thank you, and let them know what’s been going on, especially if it’s been a while. Ask for their input, or get them involved in a deeper level with your organization. If they gave a substantial amount, it’s likely they are very moved by your mission and would be thrilled to hear how they can further meet your needs.

(Tip 1: Don’t leave the conversation without what we in the marketing biz refer to as a call to action. This just means you’ll be asking them to do something. It could be very simple or a bigger ask, depending on the relationship, conversation, or needs. Examples could include setting up a follow up appointment, making an introduction, becoming a larger donor, or a spot on the board. The point is to make the most of the interaction.)

(Tip 2: Create reminders to follow up with these people throughout the year. Whether you’re just personally emailing to say hello or sending them some sort of update, check in with them at least once a quarter to let them know your nonprofit values their relationship. This will also take some of the stress and pressure off of having to squeeze everyone in at the end of the year—bonus!)

How will you communicate with year-end donors in the New Year?



PIN THIS POST FOR LATER:

One of your best bets for building momentum and donor retention in the first quarter is to build on your efforts in the last one.

Kristi Porter, founder of Signify

I’m Kristi Porter, and I help cause-focused organizations understand and execute effective marketing campaigns so they can move from stressed to strategic. Your resources may be limited, but your potential isn’t. Whether you’re a nonprofit, social enterprise, or small business who wants to give back, I’ll show you how to have a bigger impact.


11 Simple Options to Increase Your Year-End Giving

You’ll notice the title of this post is “SIMPLE Options to Increase Your Year-End Giving,” not “EASY Options . . .” Because we all know there’s a big difference between simple and easy! Simple is focused, minimal, and uncluttered. Easy is typically done in a short time period and with little work.

Simple is Joanna Gaines decorating a room effortlessly and beautifully. Easy is me picking up her decor at Target rather than me trying to design a room on my own. (Thanks, Jo!)

And I’m not trying to pull a bait-and-switch on you here. You’re too smart for that. So, while some of these ideas will take more time and effort than others, all of them will help you improve your nonprofit’s fundraising campaign this season.

People are feeling charitable (and tax-deductible) this time of year, so let’s make sure your cause gets their attention.

11 Simple Options to Increase Your Year-End Giving

1. Ask For Only One Thing

Chances are, you’re going to be asking for donations. If that’s the case, ask your tribe to show you the money. Don’t also ask them to follow you on social media, watch your latest video, join your Facebook Group (<— Oh, hey! I have one of those!), sign up for something . . . and, well, you get the point. Keep your emails and communication focused on the one, main thing you want them to do.

The exceptions to this rule would be something like a contest where they have to take multiple actions for an entry. Additionally, you can still leave some of these smaller asks in secondary spaces like footers. You can also still make some of these requests occasionally on your platforms.

However, when you are sending an email, posting about your campaign, or presenting to a group of people, keep it simple. Ask for only one thing. Don’t clutter your message.

Let’s look at the facts. According to Nonprofits Source, “30% of annual giving occurs in December.” So, this is no time to confuse people on what you want them to do! Giving them too many options or actions may even result in them taking no action at all. Yikes.

2. Evaluate Your Website For Optimal Giving

Even if people typically donate to your nonprofit through social media, text, or an app, get your website’s house in order to optimize year-end giving. Many people still give through websites, and if someone is new to you or your cause, they may check out your site before giving through another avenue like texting.

Make sure your campaign is front-and-center on your homepage, your donate button is easy to see and ideally in the top right corner, and evaluate any other pages where giving should be mentioned.

You don’t have to only designate one or two pages for fundraising efforts. Don’t bombard people, of course, but it may be appropriate to create an “event” for your campaign on your calendar page or add it to your About page. Additionally, you can create a banner at the top of your site that will display on all pages. (See mine in red at the top?) This is done through the “Hello Bar” plug-in on Wordpress and the “Announcement Bar” in Squarespace.

Want more of an explanation? Take a look at my video on how your website is less like IKEA and more like a mall.

3. Increase Your Promotion Frequency

There’s a tricky balance to this, and I explain it more in this video, but you definitely want to increase your email/social media/video/promotion frequency leading into year-end giving. This practice holds true with any launch, but especially because you’ll be dealing with a lot of competition during the holidays. Other nonprofits will be combing the interwebs for more donations, too, and lest we forget about all of those unbelievable sales at your favorite retail stores.

The takeaway here is that you shouldn’t send an email in November and December, post the campaign on social media a couple of times, and call it a day. You are going to have to work hard for that money, as the song goes. And you’re going to have to see it through until the end. Give Back Nation states that 12% of annual giving occurs during the last three days of December!

The caveat here is for my friends who’ve been so busy working that they let all their marketing and communications efforts fall by the wayside. Is that you? No judgement, but now’s the time to rev up those engines. Start now by sending your audience an email on what’s been happening, posting the latest on social media, and having general update conversations with people. This way you aren’t only going to send them a bunch of requests for money. That’s no bueno.

4. Offer Multiple Ways to Give

Give your people multiple ways to give. This goes back to the basics of knowing your audience. If you have a younger audience, consider adding the ability to donate via text. Check out these compelling stats from Mobile Cause, including the one that says, “96% of donors use a mobile phone as their primary device.”

If you have an older audience, you might want to consider hopping back on the snail mail wagon. There is no perfect answer here. There is only the answer that works for your tribe. Again, you always want to make it easy for them to give by removing any barriers in their path.

5. Add a Bonus

If you’ve got merchandise on your hands, you may want to give donors a gift in exchange for their contribution. You could even have something created just for this purpose, like a mug, tumbler, t-shirt, or jewelry.

People who are invested in your organization and your cause will be delighted to receive swag for their support. Plus, then they’re carrying your message around with them in public.

6. Get Up Close and Personal

I don’t need to go in-depth on this one, but a face-to-face interaction will always be your best bet. It works better than any sponsor presentation, email, video, or social media post. Get on the calendar of your biggest donors to date, or potential big givers, and make your case over lunch or coffee. Maybe even pay for it!

Another option here is to at least email people personally and start a conversation. Don’t rely on the mass emails that come from your organization. Write specifically to them, and make sure they know it’s coming straight from you. (For the right people, phone calls or video chats are also a good option here.)

Don’t have time? This is potentially the most powerful of all the ideas you’ll read here today, so if you don’t have time, I suggest you make it.

7. Get Everyone on Board

Year-end fundraising is an all hands on deck situation! Make sure your board, employees, volunteers, and any other key stakeholders are carrying the banner.

I talk about this topic a lot on the blog and elsewhere as it relates to launching, but this is a big deal, so it shouldn’t be left to the development or communications department. Everyone needs to be involved!

(For more, read this post.)

8. Go Outside

Yes, it’s getting chilly outside, but this may be the prime time to get out there and start cultivating more donors at events, whether you’re hosting them or not. There’s already plenty happening this season!

It’s easy to leave all of the fundraising to your digital marketing strategy, but shaking hands has a powerful impact on people. In fact, this study shows that “a handshake preceding social interaction enhanced the positive impact of approach and diminished the negative impact of avoidance behavior on the evaluation of social interaction.”

A handshake and a smile can put people at ease, and give you an open door for talking about your cause. Someone may not be ready to give during that first interaction, but you’re paving the way to a future relationship, which is a big win overall.

9. Participate in #GivingTuesday (At Least to Some Extent)

Some of you probably love #GivingTuesday, and some of you don’t. Some of you may even be new to the “holiday” as a whole, since it’s been around less than a decade.

Now in its seventh year, this unofficial holiday occurs the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, and celebrates ways people can contribute to causes, whether monetary, through volunteering, or some other type of involvement.

A few of my clients have participated in #GivingTuesday in the past, but most haven’t. What I suggest to them all, however, is to jump into the mix in some way or another. There are tens of thousands of charities participating each year, so why not be a part of the conversation?

You don’t have to come up with a specific campaign for this purpose, but I think it’s a great idea to send an email on this day, post on social media about your campaign, and anything else that keeps you in front of your audience while numerous other nonprofits are out there seeking for donations.

Even the most generous of us still only have so much money to go around, so make sure you’re getting a piece of that pie.

10. Ask Partners to Promote

If you are lucky enough to have influencers, partners, sponsors, and the like who rally around your cause, it may be time to call in a favor. You may, of course, need to do something for them in return (or at least offer), but if there’s someone who can help you get your message out in the world, this could be a great time to rally the troops.

Let me sing my song again, though: Make it easy for them. Don’t just say thanks, and leave them to put together their own social promotions and emails. It’s less likely to get done, or the messaging may not be what you want. Always offer to create whatever resources they may need. If they don’t need you, great! But if they do, you’ll be the hero!

11. Recruit Someone to Match Gifts

I’ve left this one for last because it’s potentially the hardest. In fact, because we’ve crossed the line into November, it may even be too late. But depending on your resources, maybe not! I’d certainly give it a try. If it’s an option you need to table for now, make it one of your 2019 priorities.

And let me clarify. This section could include workplace charitable giving with a matching option, or one of those, “Give by December 1st and all donations will be matched up to $50,000” kind of campaigns that is instigated by one generous donor.

According to Double the Donation, “Mentioning matching gifts in fundraising appeals results in a 71% increase in the response rate and a 51% increase in the average donation amount (and that’s prior to receiving matching gift funds).” That stat makes it a big deal!

So, determine your heavy-hitters as well as your corporate partners, and see what it will take to move the needle in your direction. This could be a huge win for your nonprofit!

(Not sure where to start? We have a resource that may be a huge help to you, and it’s releasing in a couple of weeks! Stay tuned!)

What else has helped you haul in those end of year donations?



PIN THIS POST FOR LATER:

People are feeling charitable (and tax-deductible) this time of year, so let’s make sure your cause gets their attention.

Kristi Porter, founder of Signify

I'm Kristi Porter, and I started Signify to provide writing and consulting services to nonprofits and for-profit organizations with a social mission, primarily through copywriting, marketing, and business communications. I also teach solopreneurs and small businesses how to incorporate philanthropy and giving strategies. I believe that cause-focused organizations are the future of business. You're proof that companies can both make money and do good. And I'm here to help you get noticed and grow. When you succeed, we all win.