Boost Year-End Donations to Your Nonprofits

You likely already know that year end is the optimal time for not-for-profits to conduct gift-giving campaigns. Donors are more generous during the holidays, and many people wait until the last minute to make tax-deductible gifts before the Dec. 31 deadline.

In fact, according to Double the Donation, 10% of all charitable giving occurs on the last three days of the year! If your organization hasn’t already started its big push, don’t wait any longer. Here are some tips for motivating donors.

Inform Givers About Deductions

Most donors don’t contribute to charity simply for the tax deduction. But it’s important for your supporters to understand the potential tax benefits, and limits, of making donations. Usually, charitable donations take one of two forms:

  1. Cash gifts.If an individual makes a cash or cash-equivalent contribution to a qualified charity — for example, using a credit card — the gift generally is tax-deductible if the individual itemizes deductions. (A limited deduction for nonitemizers that was available in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer allowed.) Donors must obtain contemporaneous acknowledgements for gifts of $250 or more. Currently, the limit for all cash donation deductions is 60% of the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income (AGI). Any excess can be carried over for up to five years.
  2. Property gifts.Individuals may donate property they own, such as financial securities, real estate or valuable artwork. For property that would have qualified for long-term capital gain treatment had it been sold (in other words, it had been owned for more than a year), a taxpayer can deduct the full fair market value. But gifts of property are limited to 30% of AGI, subject to the same carryover rule as cash donations. Note: An independent appraisal is required for property valued at more than $5,000.

Work Around a Theme

In addition to educating donors about tax deductions, there are plenty of other ways to motivate gift givers at year end. For example, create a giving campaign around a fun participatory theme, such as the ALS Association’s Ice Bucket Challenge. Or focus on a specific goal, such as the construction of a new facility. You could use the image of the potential building and “building” language in campaign materials.

Social media will be key to your success, so consider launching it on Facebook or LinkedIn. To that end, make sure your campaign’s name isn’t already in use online — particularly as a well-known hashtag. Also make sure your website’s donation page is ready for year-end gift-giving. It shouldn’t take too long to load, include dead links or show error messages. To further motivate online gifts, participate in Giving Tuesday (the Tuesday after Thanksgiving). In 2022, U.S. donors gave $3.1 billion to charity on Giving Tuesday, a 15% increase from 2021.

Once Giving Tuesday is over, shift your campaign into high gear. Reach out to potential donors through additional channels — by making phone calls, mailing letters and postcards, and meeting major donors in person. Be sure to deploy your board members strategically. They can contact friends and associates about matching gift programs or appeal to community leaders or big donors for support. At the very least, board members should reach out to their social media followers.

Best Practices

To maximize your year-end campaign’s results, consider these best practices:

Use your records. Reach out to those whom your records reveal have habitually made year-end contributions. You can also segment your donor database according to gift size and other characteristics that suggest some past donors may be more willing to give now.

Share your stats. Analytics, just as they do in sports or with for-profit businesses, can engage and motivate nonprofit stakeholders. Consider using infographics to display your organization’s historical fundraising patterns and keep an updated total of funds raised since the start of your current campaign on your website. Also try to use stats to show how you have — or will — spend money you’ve raised.

Take notes. Lessons learned this year will be invaluable when planning future campaigns. Make sure staffers record what works especially well during this year-end fundraising season and what they should avoid doing in 2024. This can include noting particularly helpful board or community members, bookmarking useful technology apps, or even listing ideas for further exploration.

Start Now

Probably the most important factor in a successful year-end fundraising campaign is starting early. So don’t wait any longer! Excellent communication is a close second. Maintain connections with potential donors throughout the year via email, your website, social media and snail mailings so they know who you are and what you represent when they’re asked for money. Frequent contact when you’re not asking for donations will make giving campaigns that much easier to execute.

© 2023

Michael Cecere, CPA, MST is a Gray, Gray & Gray partner and chair of the firm’s Non Profit Practice Group. He can be contacted by telephone at (781) 407-0300 or via email at:

Spread the Word

Recent Post

Contact Us Today!

Discover how we can give you the power to do more.

Scroll to Top