The Importance of Deadlines

Every year around this time people all over the country begin to sweat and fidget and possibly even become a little faint as they realize that an important deadline is approaching.  Those people had better get to work completing their annual tax returns or else they might get an uncomfortable visit or call from the tax man.  In the case of taxes, the April 15 deadline is serious because missing it may carry criminal implications but, as a rule, setting deadlines are effective as they help us focus the mind and inspire action.  In fundraising giving donors deadlines elicits a similar response and can inspire your donors to make a gift that they otherwise might not feel compelled to make.  Here are a few examples you might consider to increase income in support of your mission:

December 31:  This is one of the most obvious and often used deadlines to inspire donors to give.  The opportunity to increase charitable deductions and thereby reduce taxable income has historically been utilized by planners and also has the benefit of happening during the Christmas season when folks are in a spirit of giving.  With the newly increased standard deduction it will be interesting to see whether year end charitable giving declined, flattened or increased in 2018 but as long as individuals itemize their taxes, the December 31 deadline should be utilized by charities looking to see a boost in their income.

A Match Can Ignite Your Donors: Donor Challenges and Matches continue to be powerful tools for charities to utilize to inspire donors to give.  The ability for a donor to multiply their philanthropic impact by having their gift doubled or tripled is a great motivator.  Equally as important, in most cases, is to provide donors a deadline for the gift to be made in order to participate in the match.  This gives the charity another excuse to send reminders and build momentum toward the goal of the match.

Early Bird Gets The Best Price: For fundraising events, providing early bird discounts for attendees who purchase tickets in advance can be a way to increase participation and ensure more robust attendance.  Fund raising Galas and Receptions are wonderful ways to highlight your organization, strengthen relationships with you best donors and raise funds in support of your mission.  As you plan your next event consider a 10% – 25% discount for attendees who sign up early and track those registrations vs those who procrastinate until the day of the event.  You might be happily surprised by the response and your donors will appreciate the additional options. 

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