End of Year Fundraising: An Opportunity
We have all been cooped up for 9 months. Nothing seems normal. People contact outside of immediate family is through a computer screen or telephone. We all have bouts of Pandemic fatigue. At least there is good news on the vaccine front which might change our situations in 6 months. Getting to that point is our challenge.
Synagogue life goes on. We are approaching the end of the calendar year. I received my first fundraising end of year appeal in the mail yesterday. And no doubt with #GivingTuesday approaching on December 1st, the barrage of emails asking for contributions will not be far behind. And with people not going on December vacations in the same way as they have done in prior years, the Pandemic presents us with a unique philanthropic opportunity.
Synagogue leaders should not be hesitant about asking congregants for end-of-year gifts. This is the time to make it a priority to connect with those who gave to the High Holy Day Appeal in past years who you have yet to hear from. And those who have participated in enhanced dues giving programs who have yet to make their extra commitments.
#GivingTuesday, Hanukkah, and the push to everyone for end-of-year giving are the opportunities. Divide the congregation list in two – those who made contributions in the past beyond annual dues and those who have never contributed. Create a Task Force of 3-4 people to telephone the first group during the first week of December. Send everyone an email. While it is always best to personalize, even sending a generic email is encouraged. The important step here is to send something on December 1st as part of #GivingTuesday. If the synagogue is an important institution in people’s lives, we should be asking them for money along with all of the other worthy organizations.
Prepare a similar email to go out during Hanukkah on or about Tuesday, December 15th. A final email can be prepared and ready to be blasted on Tuesday, December 29th.
What might such emails say? You want to write about accomplishments since September as well as plans for the coming months. Hanukkah gives us many interesting analogies to write about as well. It is necessary to include an ask:
“While dues cover the bulk of our synagogue expenses, it is contributions from people like you that allows the synagogue to provide such high-quality programming and to meet the needs of our special Sacred community. Please consider making a special commitment of $100 to our End-of-Year Campaign.”
Be sure to include the link to your online giving platform as well.
The final email on December 29th can just be a simple reminder for people to include the synagogue in their end-of-year giving.
If you are stuck and would like help writing such emails, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. At times of fiscal uncertainty, we should not be afraid to ask congregants for help, especially as they are being asked by many other organizations.