Holiday Tips for the Development Office

Vol. 12 No. 4


Happy New Year!

Okay, it’s a little early to say that, but it would serve you well to start thinking about December 31st now. Conventional wisdom and research show that most charitable giving occurs during the last week of the year, with the most donations occurring on the last two days. (Of course, the tax deadline incentive helps with that philanthropic phenomenon.)

We’ve discussed the advantages of gearing up for this influx in previous e-letters, but some things are worth re-iterating.

  • Decide now whether to keep your Development Office open for New Year's. We encourage the Development Office to stay active during the last two weeks of December to be able to advise and accept gifts from donors. Your staff can handle all the questions about taxes and requirements better than any Web page or voicemail message. Speaking of which…
  • Use your Web site wisely. Donations through Web sites are increasing, with 22% of annual giving at most non-profits taking place on Dec. 30 & 31. During the busy holidays, donors may wish to use your online giving system rather than fuss with a visit or call. If your school’s digital donation system is outdated now is the time to prep it for increased traffic. Check that the whole process is simple and clearly directed toward your school’s donor population.
  • Advertise your availability! If your office is open through New Year’s, let people know. If you’re accepting donations online, tell everyone. Transparency with process decreases the chances that a potential donor will get fed up with your system and donate their dollars elsewhere. (Your social media platforms are great for this type of notification!)
  • In person or online, follow up. Donors are more apt to fall through the cracks during times of high volume giving. Be ready to personally thank all contributors, great or small, beyond the impersonal thank you screen or disembodied voice on the phone on New Year’s.

It’s difficult to stay focused during the holidays with family obligations potentially overshadowing professional ones. For the Development Office, relaxation will come a little later, and once it does, you can rest on some hard-won laurels.

Additional ISM articles of interest
ISM Monthly Update for Development Directors Vol. 10 No. 4 They Want to Give…Will You Be There to Receive?
ISM Monthly Update for Development Directors Vol. 9 No. 3 December 31 is Approaching…Your Donors Are Ready. Are You?
ISM Monthly Update for Development Directors Vol. 8 No. 9 End-of-Year Phonathons: Do You Call Everyone?

Additional ISM articles of interest for Gold Consortium members
I&P Vol. 31 No. 1 Receiving Non-Cash Gifts: Fair Market Value Appraisals
I&P Vol. 37 No. 3 The Fair Labor Standards Act: Getting Overtime Right

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