A Quick Guide to Prepare for Last-Minute Donations

Posted on December 12, 2018

A successful year-end giving campaign doesn’t slow down with only a few days left in December – it does the opposite! The last three days of the year make up 10% of annual donations, and a majority of those will occur between 12:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on December 31. To help you prepare for last-minute donations and to increase giving before the year ends, we’ve created this quick guide with essential tips.

Continue to reach out through December 31

Don’t miss out on donations by relaxing the parish’s generosity campaign efforts in the last week of the year. Online giving made up 23.9% of donations last December, and most gifts are over 50% larger in the final week than during the rest of the year.

Send friendly reminders about last-minute donations with links to your online giving options through December 31. If you’re strapped for time, write the reminders in advance and schedule them to send automatically. Just be sure to check email, text, and other ways you’re sending reminders so that you can quickly respond if they have questions.

Highlight last-minute donation guidelines

To receive a tax deduction, all donations must be made by December 31. And millions of people cut it down to the wire! Highlight taxation rules for last-minute gifts for those that tend to procrastinate. This way, they know they haven’t missed their window to give. You can include these rules in ask letters, reminders, or guide them to reputable sources that can help. The IRS website, and often local news stations, have publications available on this topic.

Make it easy to give

So many of us are guilty of not crossing off a meaningful job on our to-do list, like giving to the church, because we just can’t find the time. In fact, studies show that “lack of time” is the most common excuse for two-thirds of people whether they’re supposed to be exercising, donating to the church, making a home-cooked meal, or performing other worthwhile tasks.

Make it incredibly easy to give, so those strapped for time have no excuses. Provide brief directions on how to give online with links to donation pages when you send emails and letters. Also, encourage people that are always on the go to take a few minutes to set up convenient ways to donate, like mobile apps, text giving, and recurring giving.

Don’t wait to send thank you messages

Thank you notes should be sent within 2 weeks of the gift to show appreciation. Recent studies show donors are more likely to give a second time when the message is heartfelt and prompt. But, with an upturn in last-minute donations, it’s challenging to meet your deadline for expressing gratitude.

Before you get overwhelmed sending thank you notes in January, start now and create a template that you can personalize. Pre-schedule time in your calendar dedicated to thanking donors whether you’re sending emails, handwritten notes, or calling them. By making thank you messages a priority, you’ll retain donors and increase generosity in 2018.

Let ParishSOFT make year-end giving incredibly easy for your parish staff and parishioners! Call us today at 866-930-4774 x6 or

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