5 holiday fundraising tips for nonprofits

The end of 2014 is almost here, but there's still time to maximize your online donations. Many people give during the holiday season. Citing data from Charity Navigator, Business 2 Community said organizations raise 41 percent of their annual funds during the last six weeks of the year. Nonprofits need to be prepared for an influx of gifts before the end of December.

Even though Giving Tuesday is over, your organization can promote fundraising campaigns. This day can be seen as the start of your year-end push. Here are some tips for a successful holiday season at your nonprofit:

1. Offer volunteer opportunities
Some people may be interested in contributing to your organization in non-financial ways, which is why creating volunteer opportunities at this time of year is beneficial, according to Reuters. Although things can be hectic during the holiday push, it can be helpful to have some extra people around to lend a hand, especially if you host a year-end event. Offering the chance to volunteer can create lasting loyalty with your organization. 

2. Tell a story
This is a good practice for fundraising throughout the year, but it's crucial to make your nonprofit stand out during the holidays when you're competing for awareness and donations with similar organizations. Centering your appeal around an individual who could benefit from contributions may make the message more effective, Business 2 Community stated. You can even ask someone who has received help from your nonprofit to tell his or her story to make it more personal. Donors will be able to make a stronger connection to an individual, rather than a large, ambiguous cause. 

3. Acknowledge all the winter holidays
Although Thanksgiving and Giving Tuesday are over, Hannukah and Christmas are right around the corner. You can craft special messages for these festive days. In addition, nonprofits can create marketing materials about the importance of including charitable gifts in New Year's resolutions. Each holiday lends itself to a donation appeal. In the first week of January, you can share impact information with donors about how their gifts benefited people in need. 

4. Encourage transparency
Even though people may be more motivated to give at this time of year, many organizations that support the same causes are competing for one pool of donors. When contributors have a lot of choices, they want to be sure their gifts are going to a cause they care about. Nonprofits need to be transparent about how donations are used, or they risk losing revenue to organizations that demonstrate accountability. Some charities include this information directly on their online donation forms, Business 2 Community said. 

5. Offer recurring donations
If your donation form supports it, you can enable donors to sign up for recurring gifts. This ensures a steady stream of contributions, which gives you a more sustainable donation pipeline. Recurring contributions can carry your holiday success into the new year.

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