5 Ways to Maximize Your Fundraising Impact During the Most Generous Time of Year

It’s that beautiful, feel-great, humanity-embracing time of year: time for giving. Beyond the holiday gifting spirit, year-end tax deductions form a compelling reason that the period between Thanksgiving to New Year’s is so critical for fundraising. The proof is in the numbers: holiday-time giving can make up 50% or more of a nonprofit’s total annual revenue—and here at LinkedIn for Nonprofits, we're working hard to help organizations maximize this time of year to draw attention to their cause. 

Whether you’re advancing healthcare research, lifting up the underserved, saving the planet, supporting a church or alma mater, or pursuing some other philanthropic goal, here are 5 ways to maximize your fundraising this holiday season:

  1. Ask for introductions from your existing network. As a former fundraiser, it astonishes me how often this basic step is overlooked, especially during the holiday season. Against a backdrop of eggnog and pine needles, now is the best time to reach out to your social network and ask for a warm intro. Make sure you always personalize connection requests, and thank people for brokering introductions. Channel the holiday spirit with notes that harken to your relationship: remember when we used to talk about, you’ve always been, one of the highlights of my year was when you. 

  2. Warm up your audience on social media. “Hi—what’s your name? Can you donate to our organization today?”  Um..no. We’re guessing that asking for money straight out of the gate—the minute you meet someone new—isn’t how you approach fundraising. And we applaud that.

    The same protocol applies to social media. Rather than request a donation right from the get-go, you want to warm up new contacts—potentially through 8-10 touch points. In light of the holidays (and also with Giving Tuesday almost here), we suggest taking the next 2-3 weeks to do the following on all of your social channels:

    - Dazzle and inspire followers with your organization’s impact and mission.
    - Share stories about your impact, featuring photos and videos that show your work in action.
    - Share your fundraising goals.
    - Post profiles of key beneficiaries, volunteers or donors.
    - Leverage emotional, authentic posts for the strongest engagement level. This helps you reach the largest audience and build brand awareness—outside of your typical donor base.

    As a bonus, you’ll also be re-engaging existing followers with the same content. It’s a win-win-win

  3. Sponsor content to help expand your audience. Organic social posting is a great way to reach out to existing connections, and their connections. But for people outside of your circles, consider sponsoring content—such as 20- to 40-second videos—on platforms like YouTube, LinkedIn, and Instagram. While this entails an expense outlay, the return on your investment can be significant, and considerably higher than other forms of outreach such as snail mail, and print, TV and radio ads. Helpful tip: be intentional and think through your ideal prospects to help you refine your messaging and targeting strategy. For example, if you are funding pediatric cancer research, have a young patient or their parent tell their story of being cured by breakthrough treatments, and target young families.  If you’re bringing meals to local people in need, target people in your geographic area with a video of recipients lighting up when the meal arrives—and the social interaction that also feeds their soul.

  4. Help potential donors understand where their dollars go. Through platforms like Charity Navigator and GuideStar, donors are getting increasingly savvy, and researching organizations to understand the impact of their gifted dollars. It’s a great time to up your game in terms of transparency, and actively share stories and stats about donor fund usage on your website and social media. When you share your organization’s stewardship of donations, you build priceless credibility and deepen connections.

  5. Look beyond the dollars. Gifts can take many forms—not just money. There are thousands of people looking to give back in other ways. Use this holiday season to solicit help from them in these ways and more:

    - Get advocates to sign a petition for your cause.
    - Recruit volunteers—either on an ongoing basis, or for a given event.
    - Increase your access to resources by partnering with like-minded organizations, or helpful connections that can produce fundraising opportunities.
    - Recruit new advisors or board members, with particular skill sets.
    - Ask people to help spread the word, by sharing your social content or telling their friends to get involved.
     

If you need a hand finding your links to the philanthropic connections that will impact your organization most, LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator can help you: the solution features TeamLink, which gives you a peek into your entire community. You can also use it to grow into new geographic or audience markets. And isn’t growing community what the holidays and philanthropy are all about?

The holiday season is also known as the Giving Season—but to get the most out of this time period, it pays to be proactive. To put these tips to work, visit our microsite, or get in touch with a LinkedIn Nonprofit Specialist who can help you leverage our tools.