31 per cent of annual giving occurs in the month of December

Did you know that December 31st is more important for charities than Giving Tuesday? Research shows that 31 per cent of annual giving occurs in the month of December and 12 per cent of annual giving occurs on the last 3 days of the year. What are you doing to promote your essential cause to donors in these important weeks before year end?

31% of annual giving occurs in the month of December and 12% of annual giving occurs on the last 3 days of the year. Click To Tweet.

Do you already have a plan? If not – or – either way implementing a small year-end email campaign can help propel your fund-raising goals as we wrap up the year. I am going to offer just a short list of tips below if you want to think about reaching out to your donors by email over these coming weeks.

By the way – and this is very important- even though we are in difficult and uncertain times, do not decide on behalf of your donors by not asking them for a gift this year end. They may want to say ‘yes’ and you won’t give them the chance!  Of course, we should be sensitive and gracious about the difficulties that many people are going through however, some businesses, industries and organizations are still thriving during this time, and people in those organizations still have income and the ability to support their favorite causes. In fact, in previous economic downturns research suggested that many donors remained loyal to their causes by maintaining at least some form of giving.

Do not decide on behalf of your donors by not asking them for a gift this year-end. They may want to say 'yes' and you won't give them the chance! Click To Tweet

I continue to advise charities that Direct Mail is effective and still works both for short term gifts and long-term relationship building and the organizations I have consulted with have found that to be true.I hope you have all had your year end pieces go out by now. If yes, great – you can amplify your efforts by supplementing your asks with emails – and you likely already have that in your year-end planning!

But if you have not done year-end solicitations, here are just a few tips for soliciting by email.


Send emails from a human being and not an organization. We all respond better to people we know and names we recognize. Donors are the same. They will be more likely to open, read, and respond to an email that comes from an individual rather than something that appears to be “institutional”. For example, you might have your email come from your executive director, program leader, or board chair rather than “Organization XYZ”.

Be real. Make your message personal and immediate about what you are seeing, doing, and experiencing right now. Do not worry too much about your branding and slogans but rather focus on the good work this is happening right now and make sure that donors know it is because of them! Also talk about what is possible in the future when they stay walking beside you. Share something aspirational so they want to continue to help you help others.

Make it about them and the difference they can make not about you and everything your organization accomplishes. Of course, your work is important – but it is more important for the donors to understand how they make a difference.

Test different times for sending out your solicitation emails. Marketing experts will tell you the best times to send emails and post content social media content but if you do it at all of those “usual” times you might get lost in the flurry. Instead of sending during the busy business week consider times at the margins or on weekends. Assume that donors are often making a personal choice and include family members or spouses. Perhaps they will have more time to think and discuss if they receive your request when they are not busy with their regular business. Try things out and see what works for you.

Hopefully, your communications with donors throughout this past year has included stewardship (thanking donors) and cultivation (relationship building) And your year-end is no different. Consider how at least one of your emails in this season can be informative, inspiring, and useful to your donors.

These are a few ideals, and a great strategy includes even more. But if you only can focus on a couple things, and since 31 per cent of annual giving occurs in the month of December be sure to prepare an email solicitation for December 30th with a repeat for December 31st and then do not forget some wonderful, prompt gracious stewardship of your donors immediately in the new year!

Are you thinking about 2021 and making a pain-free fund development plan? Or are you interested in how to develop a stewardship plan so you can keep and grow your current donors? Feel free to reach out to me for a chat on how I might be able to help you in the new year.

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