After a slew of end of year fundraising appeals, holiday events, and the rush (and stress relief) of securing phenomenal gifts and meeting annual goals, nonprofits often take January off from fundraising to plan and focus on other priorities. January, however, is one of the best months to connect with donors! Here are seven reasons you should keep fundraising in January full force.
1. Donors Have More Time to Talk to You
Everyone is busy year-end, and your donors very likely don’t have time to talk to you. January, however, is the opposite – people have time on their hands, are stuck indoors, and might be looking for a diversion. Even if you do not secure gifts at this time, you can work on your cultivation to get them to put you in their plans for the coming end of year check.
2. Not Every Donor Gives at Year-End
It is an error to think that everyone wants to give in December. Go through your list, and re-ask all people that did not give in December as you would have liked and lapsed donors that didn’t give at all last year. They may have been too busy to write you a check, they might have lost your appeal among a pile of other appeals, or they might just not give in December because they are spending on their family and friends or have other bills to pay.
3. Donors Are Planning Their Giving
A major gift is a huge financial decision for a donor, and they are thinking about you when they are planning out their finances for the year – most likely in January or shortly thereafter, before taxes are due. People spend with abandon in December and then take time to reflect on finances and what is important going forward in the New Year. Take advantage of that thoughtfulness and secure pledges from your best donors and your board members.
4. New Year, New Talking Points
You have an opportunity to share all of the wonderful things your nonprofit did in the prior year and all of the wonderful things you hope to do this year – if only you can secure the right funding and support. It is a perfect message to share with your best donors and new donors alike, especially if you are calling them and thanking them for their end of year gifts! The New Year can be a breath of fresh air for both of you. It is also a lot easier to get a meeting.
5. Foundations Are Back Online
Your institutional supporters or prospects probably checked out in the last quarter, and are back in the office, online, and looking for new investments and proposals to review. A lot of foundations give the most in their first-quarter deadline, in January or February, even expending all of their funding for the year after a first board meeting. Focus on getting the most important letters of intent and proposals in while you are stuck indoors in the winter!
6. You Are Renewed and Have Time
You and your staff have had some time off, so you should be ready to hit the ground running with new projects and initiatives. Often, the wintertime is not the best time of year for programs, or for engaging the public. So you have an excuse to use your staff time for fundraising initiatives instead.
7. You Will Be Unique
Hardly anyone else is doing it! So take advantage, and set your organization apart from the pack by being one of the lone appeals in January. You might catch the attention of new donors this way as well.
Even though it seems fantastic to take a break, you are missing out on a great fundraising opportunity if you step on the brakes in January. Use this time to connect your story to your donors, get pledge commitments, and reach those that don’t give at end of year for good reasons.