The fiscal year for many institutions is quickly coming to an close. Like the calendar year end, the fiscal year end gives development leaders an opportunity to increase the giving urgency factor, especially in the annual giving program.
“Give now so your gift can be counted,” is the overarching message.
Every institution should create a comprehensive fiscal year end push strategy that engages all advancement tools – communications, direct response (email, direct mail), phone, and face-to-face solicitation strategies.
Below are 3 tasks that can be easily overlooked but have tremendous potential for increasing gift income during a fiscal year end push:
- Bump-Up Invitations. An often overlooked strategy. Most institutions count gifts of at least $1,000 as the leadership or major gift level for their annual giving programs. For donors who have given $500+ during FY2011, we should invite them to join the leadership giving society by asking them to make a gift equal to the amount of the difference between their current giving and the leadership level at your institution.
- Make Multichannel Magic. NTEN, the Nonprofit Technology Network, regularly reports on trends in online giving. One trend that is showing some staying power is the fact that “multichannel donors,” (those donors who give both online and offline) tend to give much more overall to the organization than either online or offline donors alone. In 2009, multichannel donors gave an average of $338 annually. Online only donors gave an average of $170 and offline only donors gave an average of $88. The fiscal year end strategy is to solicit via email those donors who have already given in FY2011 through direct mail. And you would direct mail solicit those who have already made a gift online.
- Re-Engaging the Year Skippers. Let’s say your FY2011 ends on June 30. And let’s say that Mr. John Donor last gave to you in October of 2009. From a tax standpoint, Mr. John Donor counted his last gift to you during the 2009 tax year. He didn’t give to you in calendar year 2010 so he skipped a year. However, October of 2009 is in the 2010 fiscal year, so from a fiscal year perspective Mr. John Donor is a lybunt. A strategy then is to thank Mr. John Donor for his gift “last year,” and to invite him to renew his giving this year. In this instance, we want Mr. John Donor to understand that, according to our record-keeping, he has not missed a year and our ask is for him to continue his consecutive year giving pattern.
The end of the fiscal year gives your institution the opportunity to invite all to make a gift – or a second gift. If we leverage this event appropriately, we create almost as much urgency as is seen at the end of the calendar year and our giving totals will benefit.