- Take time right now – not later – right now – to go through your caseload and see which donors have either not given like they did last year at this time, or who said they would give but the gift has not shown up. I am suggesting that you do this right now because there is not much time left. Today is December 22nd. Christmas is two days after tomorrow. Then there is a short work week and, bam, the year is over. Why do you need to act urgently right now? Because, more than likely, a number of your good donors have forgotten that they need to write that check before the year ends. Things have gotten very busy for them. The family and grandkids have come in, there are a ton of distractions and, in all of that, your cause, your ask, has fallen to the bottom of the pile. You need to believe me on this one. It happens more than you know. And that is why you need to uncover this right now and…
- Ask again. You would not believe how many donors, when they are kindly and carefully reminded, tell their MGOs, “Thank-you so much for helping me remember. I was so caught up with all the holiday events and family that I just forgot.”
So this little touch needs to happen very quickly, which is why I am urgently reminding you to do this work now. Yes, do it before the staff Christmas party or whatever you have planned for the rest of the day. This is important. You may have a thousand reasons why you just can’t get to this. And I have a thousand dollars that will either not get to you or go somewhere else because you didn’t act.
This year-end touch doesn’t need to be complicated. It could be:
- A phone call where you wish the donor a happy holiday season, tell a brief story of someone she helped, thank her for her generosity this year, and then give her a reminder that goes something like this: “And, DONOR NAME, if you are planning to do any last minute year-end giving, we would appreciate your remembering us. Thanks again.” Something like that that is light and relational.
- An email where you, essentially, do/say the same thing as the phone call.
- A quick one-page letter that covers all the same information. You can get this letter out later today or first thing tomorrow and it will be in the donor’s home in time to take action.
The important thing is to keep this light, warm and SHORT. It is a reminder wrapped into a thank you. That’s all. And what usually happens is that the phone call, or the voice message that you left because no one answered, turns into a note that goes into the “to do” pile and a gift is sent on or before December 31. Or the email or letter ends up in that same pile as a helpful reminder for the donor to take action on this unfinished business before the year ends.
One MGO we work with executed this plan last year at this time and $78,000 came in. Believe me, donors forget. They don’t forget because they don’t care, but because there are so many other distractions this time of year.
So, I am going to stop writing now so you can get going on this. Do not think about doing anything else first! 🙂
A version of this post was originally published in December 2013.