After Christmas, we enter a strange and kind of nice time between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. It’s still part of the holiday season, but it feels different—like a break from the usual routine. For many people, this is the only time in the whole year when it’s okay to do nothing, and they really look forward to it.
From December 26 to the afternoon of December 31, it’s considered part of “the holidays.” Some people celebrate Kwanzaa or Hanukkah during this time. But for a lot of people, whether they are still enjoying holiday activities or just finished with Christmas, this week feels like a long break.
Society, in general, even seems a bit confused during these days. We are waiting for the new year with its resolutions and hopes, but we’re not quite done with the old year. In between saying goodbye to the old year and welcoming the new one, there’s this weird stretch of time.
For most people, it’s not even a full week off from work, but it’s also not a return to the normal routine of everyday life. People don’t really know what to do with this extra week, kind of stuck at the end of the year. Some like to call it “Dead Week,” a time when nothing seems important, and things don’t feel quite real.
After sending out your year-end appeal, crafting a thoughtful series of thank-you letters, and developing a comprehensive donor engagement plan, it’s tempting to think you can finally take a well-deserved holiday break between Christmas and the New Year. If you find yourself entertaining this notion, you’re not alone—many charitable organizations either operate with minimal staff during the holiday period or shut down entirely.
If this is you, you should realize that while you are ramping down, donors are ramping up!
To put this in fisherman's terms, If you want to catch fish: YOU FISH WHEN THE FISH ARE BITING. If the fish bite at 6:00 a.m. THATS WHEN YOU FISH.
And, here on December 30 and 31, the “fish” are biting.
As a fundraiser, you should understand that a significant number of donors make critical decisions about their charitable contributions often in the final days of the year.
These donors with high capacity often opt for late year-end charitable giving. They make their charitable giving decisions on December 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, and 31st.
You should understand that many affluent donors tend to wait until the last moments of the year before making their philanthropic contributions. They make these decisions after meeting with their accountants and CPAs. Their accountants will say, “You made a lot of money and you need to reduce your taxable income.” They are saying, you need to invest in the business or give some money away. If you are in their thought processes, they will give. And sometimes, largely!
It’s important to anticipate that some of your year-end donors may have questions. They might be seeking guidance on the most effective ways to give, whether in the form of cash, appreciated stock, a Donor Advised Fund recommendation, and so forth.
For your 20% of donors who give 80% of your money, you should make sure they have your cell phone number! Let them know in an email or text that you are available in the last few days of the year if they want to ask a question or give a gift.
Others may have questions regarding your organization’s programs and areas of greatest need. Some may simply need clarification on the formal name of your organization for their check.
If you keep them apprised of the progress of your end-of-year campaign, they will help you meet your goal.
If you are in the Visionary Fundraising Facebook group, I am making sure to give you some great examples every day. If you are not a member, CLICK HERE TO JOIN
This is my word for today, it is December 30th, tomorrow is the 31st, and the fish are biting.