End of Year Giving Reminder & a Shopping Tip

This week’s post features something for those receiving donations and something for those making them! If you’re shopping on Amazon.com this month, make sure to read to the end.

Don’t Ignore Your Donors Once They Hit Submit

Approximately 3,000,000% of charitable donations are made in the month of December, and 99% percent of those ((That would be 2,970,00%.)) are in the last few days of December. That makes this a great time to hammer on a point I’ve made before and will make again.

After people make a donation, I wish more organizations would do—or do better—two things:

  1. Say thanks in some way beyond a one-line generic “Thank you for your donation.”
  2. Suggest some other ways to engage with the organization.

I’ve written about this before in “Observations from Year-end Giving” and “Saying ‘Thank You’ After a Donation,” so I won’t repeat myself too much, but I do think this stuff is important. From the former:

…there was one gaping hole in every donation process I went through. Once receiving my receipt from PayPal or another processor, I was usually offered an option to return to the site. Not a single site had created a “Thank You for Giving” page. In most cases I either returned to their “Donate” page or the home page.

In terms of saying “thank you,” a reasonable number of organizations do have a real message written by a human after a donation, but just as many don’t. That’s a shame! People often spend hours agonizing over the few paragraphs of text used to solicit a gift but much less time on the message to those who responded!

What to Say

In that message, it’s important not to get greedy and ask for more than people are willing to give, but don’t do nothing! Recent donors likely feel close to an organization—they open their wallets for a reason—and so it’s a great time to gently offer other ways for a person to stay involved with and connected to your organization. That could be through:

  • Following on social media.
  • Subscribing to an email newsletter.
  • Attending an upcoming event.
  • Volunteering.
  • Reading another part of your website. (“We’re best known for doing _____, but did you also know that we do __{link}__?”)

How to Say It

Most donation processors make it easy to specify a webpage to return users to after a donation. (Here are the instructions for PayPal.) So all you need to do is make a new page and then change your donation form settings to send people there once donors hit submit.

If you use WordPress, I highly recommend using Gravity Forms (affiliate link) which also lets you customize an email to anyone who fills out a form on your website. When set up with their PayPal add-on, this is  a great way to personalize a message to someone who just supported your organization.

So if you or an organization you work with is seeking donations this month, it’s not too late. Now, get writing!

Support Charities When Shopping

I’m not a big fan of going out of my way to use websites or toolbars that give small amounts of money to charity. The ones I’ve seen are clunky and inconvenient. However, I also think it’s crazy not to support a charity when I can do it in the course of my normal shopping, and that’s what Amazon Smile let’s you do.

If you’re like me, you do a lot of holiday shopping on Amazon. Starting this year, you can select a nonprofit to receive 0.5% of select purchases (of which there are tons). Yes, that is a very small percentage, but like I said, I’ll be shopping there anyway. Given Amazon’s historical anti-sales-tax positions, routing part of my purchase to an organization I care about is worth the few minutes it takes to set up.

To set it up, just go to smile.amazon.com and select one of the registered organizations. And if you represent an organization that would like to register, go to org.amazon.com to sign up.

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