How nonprofits can capitalize on the holiday spirit

The holiday season is quickly approaching and with it comes an increased sense of charity. According to Inspiring Generosity, a consulting firm for charitable foundations, in 2012, one-third of all charitable donations came in December, with an exceptionally large portion of contributors giving in the last two days of the month. Regardless of the reason, it's undeniable that people simply give more during the holidays. Here are some tips to help capitalize on their generosity:

Express gratitude
Nonprofits should be sure to use this time of year to thank supporters and further encourage potential donors. 

"People seem to forget that one of the primary celebrations of the holiday season is gratitude," Geoff Livingston of Inspiring Generosity said in a statement. "Instead of trying to act like Don Draper, be sincere and publicly thank your supporters for how they have helped your cause this year."

Cultivation plan
Communication between a charity and its contributors is key to maintaining relationships and encouraging regular gifts. But for nonprofits lacking that connection, the holidays can act as a platform to reengage donors. Send information both digitally and directly to restart old conversations and begin new ones.

Donations in lieu of holiday gifts
Every year a handful of holiday shoppers will inevitably be scouring shops and storefronts for last minute gift ideas. Nonprofits can use this phenomenon to leverage a marketing campaign aimed at encouraging late shoppers to consider donations as a substitute for gifts.

Emphasize tax benefits
December is the end of both the calendar and fiscal year. Organizations can entice prospective donors by emphasizing the potential tax implications of charitable gifts. With the looming April 15 tax deadline and the considerable impact contributions can make on some returns, reminding donors of tax incentives may be enough to inspire one more gift - or a first donation - before the year's end.

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