What’s New in Year-End Giving?

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA

Three new realities distinguish 2021 year-end giving. Engaging these new realities can significantly increase your year-end giving drive. They are….

  1. You can now add a “donate” button to your Zoom events.
  2. Donor-advised funds have grown to gargantuan levels.
  3. Engaging giving circles should be a part of your strategy.

While the fundamentals of year-end giving still apply, and I describe them in great detail here, 2021 also brings us three unique approaches for you to capitalize on, literally.

Zoom Donate Button

The new Zoom donate button is similar to Facebook’s donate button—but with a key difference. If donors give their permission, you can receive their names and email addresses.

Zoom users can activate the donate button by going to their Zoom account settings, switching on Zoom Apps, and installing the free app. The app was designed by Pledge, Inc. You can start a campaign by selecting at least one charitable beneficiary from the more than 2 million nonprofits in the app’s global charity database. Nonprofits that aren’t in the database can work with the Pledge support team to get approved and added to their list.

Pledge says that nonprofits that add the button to their Zoom fundraising events can expect to see 50% more donors make contributions during their events.

Engage Donors with Donor-Advised Funds

The second unique aspect of 2021 year-end giving concerns the gargantuan growth of donor-advised funds (DAFs), which are now valued at $142 billion and growing. Here are six ways to engage DAF donors.

Yet 35% of DAFs distribute nothing at all. That is unacceptable. Obviously, it’s up to the donors to initiate a gift to your crucial work, but it’s up to us to ask. And we can’t cultivate and solicit DAF holders if we don’t know who they are!

Many nonprofits do not know how to identify if their donors have a donor-advised fund. That’s an issue because DAFs are not public entities. Yet with advanced prospect research, that issue has been solved. If you’d like to talk about that, contact us.

Giving Circles

Giving circles enable regular folks to pool their contributions, thus amplifying the power of individual dollars. According to Philanthropy Together, there are 2,000+ giving circles in the United States involving approximately 150,000 donors who have contributed $1.29 billion. They’ve proven to be one of the most effective ways to turn smaller gift dollars into a powerful force for community change—and while they have grown impressively, not enough of us fundraisers know about them, nor are we engaged with them.

Please research what the closest giving circle is in your area, and reach out to connect with them. To find a giving circle near you, enter your zip code here, and be prepared to be amazed.

Year-End Overall

No matter the approach you take to your year-end drive, here are six must-share messages for your donors. I suggest sending one message a week starting Oct. 1. The six messages concern Financial Securities, Retirement Plans, Age 70.5 Distributions, Life Insurance, Charitable Gift Annuities, and The Last Will & Testament. The details contained in these six messages are critical to communicate with your donors.

What’s new in your year-end giving drive? Do let me know by posting a comment below.

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