Over the next 3 weeks, donors will be making far more charitable gifts than at any other time during the year. It is the season of giving – and donors respond.
As you implement plans to encourage and remind donors to support your mission during this period of generosity, there is a group of donors who can sometimes be overlooked. If your institution operates on a fiscal year, the overlap between the beginning date of your fiscal year and the end of the calendar year can offer a special opportunity.
Here is how it works:
Let’s suppose your institution operates on a July 1 – June 30 fiscal year. Currently, you would be working in fiscal year 2017. Because of the difference between the fiscal and calendar years, you could query your database to run a report of those donors who made their most recent gift to your institution sometime between July 1 – December 31, 2014. That date range represents the beginning months of fiscal year 2015.
After reviewing this list of previous donors, you might call a few of the larger donors and say something similar to the following:
“Thank you for being a generous donor in support of our mission. We remain grateful to dedicated donors like you who provide needed resources each and every year. You last made a gift during our 2015 budget year and as we approach the end of 2016, we wanted to reach out to you to see if we can continue to count on your generosity. We want to count you among our donors in 2016. Would you give consideration to continuing your support by making a gift of $____ ?”
Here’s the short take: Many sybunt donors believe inaccurately that they give in support of your institution each and every year. The reality is that life gets busy and, sometimes, well-intentioned donors miss years. In their hearts and minds, though, many believe themselves to be loyal annual donors.
The purpose of the above strategy is to assume that all recent donors desire to view themselves as loyal annual donors. Your responsibility is to communicate with them accordingly. By verbally connecting the 2015 budget or fiscal year with the 2016 calendar year that is coming to a close, you are presenting the timing of their most recent gift in a manner that hopefully will encourage their continued giving.
The fact that you are clarifying their last gift time frame by using words like, “budget,” or “fiscal,” or “calendar,” is not nearly as ear-catching as hearing the back to back years of “2015” and “2016.”
An effective strategy with inconsistent donors is to assume they believe themselves to be consistent annual donors. Then, accurately but carefully communicate with them about their past giving so that they just might be encouraged to become consistent annual donors.
Good luck and finish 2016 strong!