by Marie Palacios

It’s that time of year again, when Christmas carols fill the air and lights are hung on the tree.

It’s a beautiful time of the year…I get it. But for those of us who are in the nonprofit world we are more concerned about keeping the lights ON then hanging them on a tree.

While others are counting down the twelve days of Christmas with cozy visions of drummers drumming, and lords a leaping, we nonprofit folks feel more like those “maids a milking” as we frantically try to figure out how can spend these final days of the year to create the greatest impact.

Everyone is BUSY.

More events are out of the question.

People are making their final contributions to charities and we need to figure out how to get on their list!

Our brain skips into overdrive and run through all the things we did or didn’t do: newsletter updates, an annual fundraiser, volunteer appreciation events, a fall ASK letter to generate end of year giving, a Christmas wish list posted, donation acknowledgement letters sent.

So, it’s now December 10th and we have approximately 8 business days to end the year with the bang.

There are lots of things you could do, so let me just share how I am spending the next 64 hours of work as the Executive Director of a small nonprofit:

1.  Reviewing our donor database and printing off lists so we can divide and conquer- through personal phone calls!   

  • I just sent a list of all our  organization’s members to our board of directors, and these amazing volunteers are each calling two full pages of individuals to THANK them for their 2015 membership and ask if they would like to renew for 2016.
  • I printed off a list of all donors who have pledged funds for our current 3 year campaign to thank them and let them know they can expect to see our 2016 calendar of events in their mailbox/inbox by January 1st.
  • I printed off a list of all donors who had unfulfilled pledges. Guess what? These people want to give us money and will appreciate a gentle end of the year reminder! By jumping on the phone today to say thank you and offer a chance to fulfill those pledges I know I will have $9,000+  in the bank before Christmas!

2.  Hand-writing Holiday Wishes –

So we all send out those form letters with an acknowledgement of tax-deductible contributions…but we want to spice it up. Staff is dedicating a full day to write personal thank you notes to the donors and volunteers that help keep this organization alive. We won’t be able to write all 2,000 people on our contact list, but we will certainly send out as many as possible. We will take a full day each quarter to do this so that every donor gets a handwritten card during the next 12 months.

3. Mailing End of Year Donor Impact Packages –

I am compiling impact reports for all donors who have contributed large dollars to a specific cause. Each packet includes a brief yet specific thank you letter outlining the completion of projects and the number of people served/impacted as a result of their gift. We also printed off a few 5×8 photos of the specific project/program each donor funded. These packets aren’t required for a grant; we simply want to express gratitude and highlight the impact their generosity had on this community

4. Hanging up the Wreath –

As staff closes down the office for a much needed break, we want to make sure the community knows when they can expect to reach us. Voicemails are being updated, schedules posted on doors, social media pics are flying, and data crunching continues.

5. New Year Resolution –

It’s hard to think about next year when it is taking all of our energy to survive this week, but it is important to end 2015 with a clear plan for 2016.

So go ahead, make YOUR list and see how much holiday cheer your organization can bring to all those you serve…and those who help you serve!

Stay tuned for next week’s blog for tips on New Year Planning Goals!  

Funding For Good is here if we can help you along this path and we are rooting for you all the way!!! Go be successful and keep growing for good!

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