Blackbaud just released it’s 2013 Charitable Giving Report, showing steady growth for all nonprofits.

In fact, the 4.9%  increase in giving  is the largest since the recession.

And small nonprofits grew their online fundraising by 18.4% compared to 2012! Three cheers to the small, yet agile, underdog!

So, what are the key take-aways for your nonprofit?

Here’s one: lay the groundwork towards the third quarter.

Blackbaud reported more than one-third of all charitable giving happens in the last three months of the year. This fourth-quarter boost in donations has been a consistent trend for several years and  will most likely continue in the years ahead. And this makes sense when you consider the concentration of holidays, #GivingTuesday, and the year-end push for last-minute donations.

If your fundraising strategy doesn’t account for a swell in fourth-quarter, you could be kicking yourself on December 31st.

Here are a few tips for readjusting your 2014 fundraising strategy, if you haven’t already:

1. Build muscles

Given the fact that most money is raised during the last three months of the year, small nonprofits should spend the first nine months training for success during the last quarter. Set shorter-term goals for online engagement, email open and click rates, and conversion rates. Going into October, you want a community that’s vibrant and responsive to your messages.

2. Build community

It goes without saying that donors need to know, like and trust your organization before they will give you money. Use social media to connect with your community. Reply to comments and make every effort to be useful. Become one of them, instead of an authority.

Set shorter-term goals to grow engagement rate, retweets, repins, blog comments, etc.

3. Build systems

In order to be successful during an event like #GivingTuesday, you need to have the right fundraising and e-mail marketing tools. Your fundraising software should enable frictionless donations, and easily support the specific types of fundraising campaigns you do (walks, peer-to-peer, matching, etc). Your e-mail software should also support smart segmentation so that you can be sure you’re communicating with your donors in more meaningful and purposeful ways.

4. Write it down 

There’s no shame if you don’t have a written plan. But there is shame If you don’t write one soon. Set your plan. Refocus. Review.

What do you think? How are you preparing for the fourth quarter of 2014? 

Turn 2013 Fundraising Research into Actionable Fundraising Ideas in 2014. Download the report today!

 

Charitable Giving Report

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Haydon helps nonprofits change the world with smarter marketing. He is the author of Facebook Marketing for Dummies (Wiley), consults for nonprofits and community foundations across the United States, and can ride a bicycle backwards.

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