What Does Your Ministry Do Between Christmas and New Year’s Eve?
Monitor all phones that your donors may call.
Many NPOs give employees time off between Christmas and New Year’s. If that is the case for you, take extra care that you make provision that at any phone a giver may call (personal cell phones, land lines) is covered! Don’t let an unmonitored phone line or outdated voicemail kill the opportunity for a meaningful year-end gift.
Make sure all potential phone lines have a crafted voice mail such as, “as you may know, (our ministry name) is not open for regular business hours between Christmas and New Year’s. But rest assured, we are grateful that you have called. Please leave a message with how we can reach you. We are monitoring our voicemail and will call you back within 24 hours. Or, text 555-555-5555 and we’ll try to get back to you sooner than that.”
It may also be worthwhile to have a physical presence onsite during normal business hours on the last day of the year for those possible last minute drop-off donors. It is not unheard of for someone to want to make the end-of-year deadline and visit in person at the end of the day.
Serving every giver well at the end of the year will pay rich dividends over time. Conversely, not being available when they are ready to give is, frankly, inexcusable, and a huge opportunity lost.
Promptly say thank you.
When an unexpected gift comes in, pick up the phone and say “thank you!” It only takes a minute and you will surprise and delight the giver! It will almost certainly set you apart from the other 5-10 recipients of their year-end giving. Even if you have to leave a voice mail message, the impact can be powerful. People don’t give to be thanked, but being thanked adds joy to the gift—and greatly enhances the prospects for future gifts.
Evaluate previous year.
What worked? What didn't work? Did you stick to your strategy? Did you have a strategy? Sometimes the best advice comes from previous failures or objectives that missed reaching their full potential. Sit down and look through your calendar, week by week and write down a list of what you want to do differently next year. Also, write down what you need to stop doing that takes time but doesn't produce ROI for your ministry.