Nov 22, 2013
Donations are something nonprofits should strive to collect year-round, whether through an online charity auction or more traditional peer-to-peer fundraising. But a new study from the Charities Aid Foundation reveals contributors in the U.K. seem to prefer giving during the months of November and March.
In a unique infographic generated by CAF, it's apparent just how significantly November and March dwarf other months. Fifty-seven percent of the country's adult population, which amounts to approximately 27 million people, expense charitable gifts during those two months. As a point of reference, 44 percent made donations in August – identified as the least lucrative month. CAF believes events held during those months may shed some valuable insight into the subject.
In the U.K., March is known for two things: Comic Relief and the London Marathon. The first, Comic Relief, a nonprofit founded in the mid-'80s to address the needs of the poverty in Africa and the U.K., holds a telethon every year in March. Entitled "Red Nose Day," the televised effort is one of the most significant charitable events in the country.
Unlike its counterpart, the London Marathon doesn't actually take place in March, but in April. Instead, organizers use the month to prepare for the race by accepting donations from eager contributors.
March also coincides with the end/beginning of the tax year. As charitable gifts can often be deducted from taxes, many are trying to get in their charitable gifts in while they still can.
For a long time, December was the king of the giving months. It coincides with multiple holidays and people are just seemingly in the mood to give, or at least to shop. Over the years, however, spending during the holidays has expanded, enveloping November. This alone has provided the month with a significant bump in charitable donations, but it doesn't fully address why CAF's research shows a 5 percent drop from November to December.
Every year, BBC Children in Need, much like Comic Relief, hosts a live, televised fundraising event. The effort, called "Appeal Night," is a mixed-bag extravaganza, featuring acts from various celebrities, including singing, dancing and much more. Last year the BBC Children in Need raised upwards of $40 million, or £27 million.
According to the study, increased gifts in November and March may have been the result of larger, more grandiose events. But not every organization is capable of hosting such lavish fundraisers - some can only manage online donation forms. Instead, nonprofits should focus on structuring smart campaign strategies based on existing data. If people are more likely to give at a particular time, make sure to target those windows and capitalize on ongoing fundraising trends.