When I transitioned my career into partnering with nonprofits to accelerate their fundraising through digital marketing strategies and technology I was struck by something that seemed to be true of the whole industry: 90% of online giving happened in December. This was true of every organization I worked with. And 90% of December giving happened in the last three days of the year. And 90% of that giving happened on the last day of the year.
Calendar year-end was and remains a very important online giving day and you should be doing everything you can to stay top of mind with your donors during that time. Send extra emails. Add a pop-up to your homepage. Make sure your digital media is in full force.
But as January comes into focus, and you’ve recovered from the Calendar year-end fundraising bonanza, don't slow your digital fundraising down. Because the new reality is there is no longer a “slow season” in fundraising.
Think of your digital fundraising like a snowball that grows with time. Once it gets rolling you don’t want to stop it and start over because you’ll lose momentum.
I saw this precise snowball stopping happen earlier this year. An organization we work with decided to not invest in digital media in January because historically that was a slow fundraising month. Not only did this organization miss out on the revenue and new donors their peer group received in January, February also underperformed because they had to pay back the lost momentum that consistent digital media presence creates.
People are spending more and more time online since the pandemic. They are also becoming more comfortable managing money online. It’s become normal to buy toilet paper on your smartphone and order dinner with a QR code. Checkbooks are a distant memory as bank apps have become ubiquitous.
Nonprofits who want to maximize their online fundraising can’t just focus on Thanksgiving through CYE. To make digital fundraising work organizations have to be constantly and consistently showing up where their donors and prospects spend time online. Building awareness, attracting interest to their cause, engaging people with their content, and inviting people to donate.
So go all out this December—and I hope it’s even better than last year—and when you get back in the office in 2022 (even if it’s just a desk in your bedroom) keep the momentum going.