Nonprofits must prepare for holiday season

Retailers have Black Friday and the shopping days leading up to Christmas as lifesavers that keeps them from operating in the red. While nonprofits might not have a specific day as big as the unofficial kickoff of the holiday shopping season, November and December are their Black Friday equivalents.

In a giving mood
According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, the holiday season is also the time of year not-for-profits see the most donations. Donors give approximately a quarter of their contributions to nonprofits and charities between Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays. Many not-for-profits hope the money raised during the last quarter will carry them over into the new year, The Lafayette Journal and Courier reported.

"We absolutely see a huge increase in all types of donations over the holidays," Jennifer Layton, executive director of the Lafayette Transitional Housing Center, told the newspaper. "People want to help others and the holidays are a time for them to give back."

Getting the public to hear your message during all the noise and busyness of the holiday season can be tough. A nonprofit needs the latest in online fundraising tools at its disposal as well as a good message.

How to connect
Too many times not-for-profits will leverage their end-of-the-year fundraising hopes on a testimonial or a plea for donors to help them keep the lights on. This could be the wrong approach and hamper nonprofits' efforts to raise funds in the future if they repel potential contributors with their message, The Nonprofit Times noted. 

To depend on donors' financial support means not-for-profits must tailor their holiday messages by not making it about the organizations, but what their nonprofit does for the public in need. Charities can't expect to receive any goodwill around the holidays if they treat the public like their bank without showing donors how their contributions made a difference.

 It's vital for an organization to describe how much donations mattered over the past year to those people the funds helped. One of the best ways to demonstrate this is in a letter, email or social media campaign that tells the story of one person who's benefiting from the nonprofit's help. 

According to The Nonprofit Times, a human narrative is much more compelling than an organization's story. 

Giving Thanks
Not only do donors and volunteers need to know why a nonprofit matters, they also need to be thanked for their assistance. The holiday season is a perfect time to do this. An organization can continue to build goodwill and connections with the public by sending holiday-themed thank-you cards to donors and volunteers wishing them a great holiday and a happy new year. 

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