December: an overcrowded month for Online Fundraising?

For us at Diabetes Hands Foundation, it definitely seems so. This past holiday season:

  • We raised less money than we did in our September campaign.
  • We didn’t reach our goal of $15,000 (we did in September!)

My question to all of you out there doing fundraising online is:

Do you think that “competing” for donor gifts in December, when every nonprofit is recommended to do it, may have led to the end-of-year becoming an overcrowded time for successful fundraising?

Please share your experience…

8 thoughts on “December: an overcrowded month for Online Fundraising?

  1. This is an interesting finding, and one that suggests that you might learn from this experience. I wonder if spring months (I’m thinking March) might prove more productive? My thoughts are that DHF competes with others for fundraising, and while I cannot comment on the burden of the IRS, the reality is that anyone who is due to receive a refund will likely start getting one in the spring months (earlier, rather than later, though the IRS takes a few weeks to actually give returns, I’d guess that most of the DHF donors are well-connected and therefore might also be getting refunds electronically, but the actual timing is something to look into). Also, I wonder about the September campaign given that it takes place when many also have JDRF walks, but again, the reality is that you might find that alternative months might prove more effective in terms of fundraising, your experience will not necessarily mirror big organizations. Have you ever attended a class at the Foundation Center in San Francisco? Although much focuses on grantwriting, they nevertheless have a library and they might cover other events in other months, so it’s worth looking into.

    • Thanks for all these thoughts and insights, Scott!! Good point about doing a Spring fundraising instead of a late-Summer or Fall.

      We have attended a few classes at Fdn Ctr. We recently formed a Fundraising/Development Committee and these thoughts come in very handy as we are planning for the 2011-2012 fiscal year (our FY runs from May to April) and beyond.

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  3. Manny, I think for your average small caliber donor (the under $50 crowd), it’s hard to compete in the month of December with any organization that is not related to reaching out to people in need. There are bell ringers and angel trees everywhere, adopt a family at work, gifts for parisheners in need at church, and we all know a family that lives near us that needs a hand, and for small contributers, well, the goodwill budget only goes so far. As a small caliber contributer, that’s the first thing that pops into my mind, it’s not a question of being too much competion online, there’s just to much competion in general near the major giving holidays. Hope this helps.

  4. The reason almost all charities conduct a fundraising drive in December is because that is when giving is on the minds of most supporters. The best time to ask people for support is when they are most receptive to it.

    • That is clear to us, Jay. However, the question is is it effective to nonprofits of all sizes the way it used to be?

  5. Try running a fund raiser after people get their tax refunds! December is way difficult as many are spending on the holidays.

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