‘Tis the season to give back and help local communities.
As 2021 comes to a close, many nonprofit organizations are focused on end-of-year (EOY) giving. It’s the time of year when nonprofits not only accelerate their fundraising outreach but also explore ways to network, strategize and prepare for the ever-changing challenges of a new year.
We had the opportunity to talk with two seasoned professionals on the topic of year-end planning. Here’s how Cynthia Coleman, chief philanthropy officer at Voices for Virginia’s Children, and Sarah Moseley, director of development and marketing at the Children’s Museum of Richmond, see end-of-year fundraising for 2021.
How has overall fundraising for your organization in 2021 compared to 2020?
Coleman: Voices for Virginia’s Children had a very good fundraising year. Our numbers for 2021 are in line with 2020 numbers even with a leadership change and staff changes in development. We are grateful for those who came before us who laid a solid plan to work with for Q2-Q4. Voices benefited from foundations that maintained their pre-pandemic funding levels and allowed us to transition from program-specific funding to general operations funding. This move allowed us to use the funds as we saw fit and not box us into a specific program because the pandemic and social justice movement changed so much for all of us, including organizations involved in advocacy like Voices.
Moseley: The Children’s Museum of Richmond (CMoR) is incredibly grateful for the supporters who have helped us navigate such incredible uncertainty throughout the ongoing global pandemic. Thanks to individual donors, sponsors, foundations, and the leadership of the Museum’s board of trustees, we have seen an increase in fundraising support from 2020 to 2021.
Comparing where you are right now with end-of-year giving, how does that compare to this time last year?
Coleman: It’s wonderful to see an upswing in our contributions towards the end of the year. Even though much has changed since our year-end fundraising drive, Voices has stayed committed to advocating for all of Virginia’s children.
Moseley: The complexity and timing of appeals make it difficult to compare this year to last year. However, we hope that we will finish on track or ahead of last year as we look at the overall end-of-year efforts.
How important are end-of-year campaigns to your organization’s overall fundraising strategy?
Coleman: Our growth is based on end-of-year promotions. The vast majority of our contributions come from here. So, we constantly look at the “seasonality of giving” and search for additional initiatives throughout the year. It allows us to celebrate a year of achievements. Yet so much labor happens after the General Assembly ends. While our policy staff is busy on legislation, they are already working on next year’s unified legislative agenda. That means spending the whole year working with individuals who have lived the policies we support. They teach ordinary Virginians how to tell stories advocating for themselves and others. Our participation in budget negotiations occurs throughout the year because of Virginia’s government structure. In development, we use our EOY appeal to communicate our commitment, depth and breadth of activity.
Moseley: End-of-year campaigns are vital to the CMoR’s overall fundraising plan. The end-of-year season allows us to reflect on the year’s work and highlight the effect of our supporters’ gifts on our mission and activities. We at CMoR value the chance to interact with the donors that enable us to work with so many families each year. Our year-end fundraising efforts highlight the accomplishments made possible by community support while urging continued giving. The Children’s Museum, like many other charities, relies on end-of-year contributions to kickstart the new year.
Why should the community consider giving an end-of-year gift?
Coleman: This is especially important as we approach the General Assembly session in January. In the months preceding the General Assembly, policy staff strategized, developed a legislative agenda and connected with many supporters. A year-end contribution helps us raise awareness of our advocacy work and maybe expand it. We can educate more General Assembly members and the public by sharing more information (e.g., our website, emails, and social media). As a result of these contributions, policy personnel may concentrate on their job without worrying about administrative expenses. We appreciate our loyal contributors and new donors in 2021. Happy Holidays from Voices for Virginia’s Children!
Moseley: There are many reasons to make an end-of-year donation to a charity you care about. Additionally, the end of the year is a great time to take advantage of company match programs or make a donation on behalf of a loved one as a Christmas present. We depend on the annual fund for important assistance. A surge in donations at this time of year may help groups like ours continue their operations and accomplish their objective even further.
To learn more about Voices for Virginia’s Children and CMoR, check out their websites and social media. If you are interested in donating, the links are below.