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Year End Giving. The season starts with #GivingTuesday, segues into an annual appeal, and ends with a flurry of increasingly pressing New Year's Eve emails.

We rely on donors who give year after year, habitually writing the same $50 or $250 or even $1,000 checks. They count on getting the ask, we count on getting the cash.

But how should we treat a donor who could be giving more - and sometimes much more? Our advice: handle them with special care.
There's a truism in fundraising: The more money you want from someone, the more one-at-a-time you have to deal with them. People only give so much in response to an impersonal letter - no matter what their capacity. Therefore, you don't want to send an annual appeal letter to a potential major donor who will give you $250 in response - and feel like they're done.

You don't want a nominal gift, a knee-jerk "they're a good group" type of response - when you could have gotten an investment gift, a considered decision that reflects shared values and commitment to your impact.

Each type of gift is about more than just money - it's a reflection of how closely tied the donor is to your cause. And sometimes it's worth foregoing the former to shoot for the later.
What happens if you have a donor who was generous at your Fall benefit? If the benefit was in October, and you've had some interaction with the donor in between, you can go back in for a personal ask. If it was in November, it's probably better to wait until sometime in the New Year. But in that case, do you send a blanket annual appeal letter, figuring "what the heck"?

We'd advise not to - you run the risk of cannibalizing the potential major gift you're waiting for.

Timing is everything in asking for money.
While both direct response appeals (i.e. mail and online requests) and major gifts can be solicited at year's end, there's a big difference in how much ground you need to lay. Unlike mail appeals, asking for major gifts is a strategy that starts way before the actual solicitation.

By early Fall, your major gift prospects should be identified and primed - with cultivation that happened earlier in the year. Then, you can start reaching out in September to get a meeting for October/November - because it's rare, after Thanksgiving, that a major donor will actually agree to a sit-down date (and not cancel at the last minute).
The takeaway? You need to earn your major gifts by personalizing your approach, and investing enough time so that donors (and potential donors) feel treated individually and specially, in a way that is appropriate to the level of gift you desire.
NPCC's The Best Nonprofit Conference

NPCC's inaugural Best Nonprofit Conference on December 6th is the culminating event of The New York Community Trust 2018 Nonprofit Excellence Awards. This conference will give you everyday practices and tools that you can incorporate into your work through:
  • Panel discussions with Awards selection committee members and Awards winners with practical information on their best management practices
  • Templates, tools, and other takeaways from each session that you can implement immediately
  • Deep dives into the "how" of changing organizational behavior and culture
Join Judy Levine, Cause Effective's Executive Director, as she leads a panel on best practices in fundraising during the conference. The panel, titled "With a little help from my friends", will take place from 2:10pm - 3:25pm. View the full conference agenda here and register today!

DATE December 6, 2018 | TIME 8:00 AM - 5:30 PM | LOCATION Faculty House at Columbia University 64 Morningside Drive New York, NY 10027 
Cause Effective Can Help

We love thinking through fundraising strategy to help nonprofits design new ways to reach their supporters. Contact us - we'd be happy to brainstorm with you how to raise more money from your 2018 year-end campaign. 

Judy Levine 
Executive Director  
Cause Effective Around Town
Conferences, Packages, Blog posts...and more! 
Cause Effective Workshop:
Fearless Fundraising

Join Associate Director Greg Cohen at this year's University of Chicago Booth School of Business' On Board New York conference for a workshop on fearless fundraising and asking for money with confidence.

How can enthusiastic board members connect their passion for mission to confident fund-raising? This session for board members and nonprofit professionals will provide a crash course in how to raise money and make "the ask." This workshop is also designed for nonprofit professionals tasked with training their board members to effectively raise funds.
Friday, Oct. 26th
S pecial Thanks to BNY Mellon

For support of Cause Effective's public workshop offerings
New Cause Effective Package: Resource Development Focus Group
Are you launching a major donor program or an anniversary campaign? Have you ever wondered what your key supporters are thinking about you, or what aspects of your work most resonate with them? Ask them!

Cause Effective's facilitated focus groups allow organizations to gather feedback from key stakeholders as well as cultivate the people present in the room.
From the Cause Effective Blog: 
When Less is More

A recent New York Times article focused on localized micro-philanthropy - small grants targeted to a specific need in a pinpointed geographic area.

"Bite-sized largesse," the article called the phenomenon. These type of hyper-specific grants provide multiple rewards; by defining the exact impact their contribution will have, a local philanthropist can easily understand how their donation matters. [Read more]
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For over 35 years, Cause Effective has strengthened the nonprofit sector by increasing the capacity of more than 5,000 nonprofits to build sustainable communities of supporters. We transform people, culture and systems, coaching nonprofits to learn, carry out and sustain new approaches to fundraising and board engagement.

To learn more, please visit www.causeeffective.org.