Charity fundraising ideas to keep your organization ahead during the late-year push

Towards the end of the calendar year, charitable foundations tend to benefit from a bump in donations. Likely a result of the holidays, the late injection of funds is a great way for nonprofits to prepare for the year ahead. Either way, without effectively preparing, organizations could be losing out on thousands of additional dollars in revenue.

To ensure your charity is fully taking advantage of this late-year generosity, here is a best-practices list nonprofits can pull ideas from:

Connect from all angles
Many nonprofits make the mistake of trying to translate typical fundraising practices to the end of the year, says Keystone, a nonprofit consulting firm. Organizations often maintain standard strategies of soliciting new donations when instead they should be ramping efforts to keep in contact with existing contributors.

Email may be the most preferred fundraising tool for charities, according to Salsa, a resource for nonprofits, but in the final months of 2013, organizations should be using every trick in their wheelhouses. Don't only send messages by email or via post, but rather connect with donors through a variety of channels, like Facebook, Twitter, your own website, in person and any other option available.

Choose an event to pair with your auction

While charity auctions can be quite successful on their own, you can double—even triple—the amount you raise by hosting an event along with your auction. 

Auctions work well with other events because they allow guests the opportunity to engage in a little friendly competition and have the chance at winning an awesome item or experience. 

Events that pair well with charity auctions include:

  • Galas
  • Themed fundraising parties
  • Alumni or parent's nights
  • Casino nights

Whether you're a nonprofit, school, or church, you can combine your fundraising initiatives to raise even more money.

Let's look at an example to better illustrate why fundraising events and auctions go well together.  

Imagine that your church is looking to raise money for a new facility and you decide to host a holiday party. Your church can raise money through admission fees but that may not be enough to reach your goal. 

Along with your event, you can organize a silent auction. With rare and unique items up for bid, more congregants will be motivated to attend. Plus, if multiple people are interested in a single item, this can drive up the price and cause you to raise more money. 

Ultimately, combining an event with your charity auction will help generate more interest, allowing you to raise more. 

Give them a deadline
Establishing a year-end deadline and then adhering to that timeline can give contributors a reason to stay enticed throughout the holiday season. Organizations can create an official countdown, sending various correspondences throughout the process, constantly reminding donors of the looming deadline. Using multiple channels, nonprofits can engage contributors from numerous demographics with the same message: the clock is ticking; time is running out.   

Stand out
The significance of year-end contributions is not a secret. Charities know donors are likely to give more as January approaches, and most will be working to secure as many additional funds as they can. To stay ahead of the pack and make sure your organization stands out to prospective contributors, crafting a compelling case will be paramount.

Using various points of contact will be invaluable in attracting the excess generosity. Create a canvass through multiple platforms and paint a picture of your nonprofit's mission and the work you've done with the money you've raised so far. Incorporating several different mediums, from photos to video to unique content on social media, will add depth to your charity's image and help you set yourself apart from similar organizations.

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