How to Secure Year-End Gifts!

Dec 5, 2019Donors, Leadership, Nonprofits, Philanthropy, Relationships

How-to-Secure-Year-End-Gifts Donors Leadership Nonprofits Philanthropy Relationships

It’s time to secure those outstanding year-end gifts!

You are scanning your major donor lists to see who you have not heard from this year.

No doubt, you are fretting as the year comes to a close and you have not reached your fundraising goal or a new ambitious goal your team set earlier this year.

As you look at your budget, you determine where you stand these last few weeks of the year.

Yes, it is time to get those outstanding charitable donations in! There is urgency. You have worked hard to engage donors, let them know the impact of their gifts, and dropped your year-end mailings.

But you still have not heard from some of your most enthusiastic supporters.

What’s up?!

Obviously, people are busy this time of year. Therefore, they need prompting.

That is, you need to take action right now and over the next few weeks.

Your Action Plan to Secure Year-End Gifts

Most importantly, do not sit back and wait! That is the worst thing to do. Pull your team together and get moving.

Here’s how:

Make a List

First, identify your top 10 most reliable major donors who have not contributed this year.

These individuals have given in the past, volunteered in some capacity, received your services at one time, or serve on a committee. Heck, these may be board members!

In other words, this list consists of those who have been engaged with your organization.

As a fundraiser, one year I remember looking over our list of outstanding major donors as the year was ending. When I called one of our board members on the list, she answered, “I have not forgotten!” She had every intention of getting a check in the mail. She would have felt terrible if she had not made her yearly contribution. She put her check in the mail that day.

Call those Ardent Supporters

Next, call your donors.

Your loyal supporters want to hear from you, board members, and other staff. You are allowing them to make a difference.

Your calls should go something like this:

1) Thank them for their past support.
2) Share a recent impact story that will resonate with them.
3) Ask their advice on a topic for which they are knowledgeable – listen & take note.
4) Ask if they would consider a gift of the same amount or more for this year.
5) Share the easy ways to donate.
6) Sincerely thank them for their gift, and
7) Immediately send a personal, handwritten thank-you note.

Repeat! Immediately identify the next group of outstanding donors and make calls.


We are a philanthropic country. Over $427 billion was contributed to U.S. charities in 2018, according to Giving USA 2019.

Best of all, donors are looking for solutions and innovation – evidence of social impact and nonprofits doing good work.

Therefore, share with donors your solutions and allow them to contribute to your good works.


What are you doing to gently remind and encourage your most loyal supporters to make a year-end gift?

Nancy Rieves, Ed.D. is a fundraising coach. She provides overwhelmed nonprofit leaders of small organizations with a roadmap to maximize and sustain major gift fundraising. She prepares leaders to be confident and successful in raising money. Reach her at [email protected].


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