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The team from Charity Navigator, the nation's largest independent charity evaluator and leading donor advocate, shares their thoughts on emerging nonprofit-sector issues and offers tips to better inform your intelligent giving decisions.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The Power of Monthly Giving


As 2018 draws to a close, many of us are wrapping up our last-minute shopping, gift wrapping, and holiday meal preparations. Don't let your charitable giving slip through the cracks! Donations must be made (or postmarked) by December 31 to count toward the current tax year. 

Now that we've established a proper sense of urgency, let's discuss an easy way to make your year-end donations more impactful. 

Many of us wait until the last few weeks of the year to make our charitable gifts. By this point, we have reconciled our personal finances and have an idea of what's left to divvy up amongst our favorite causes. Once we make it over the holiday hurdles we can sit down with our checkbooks or laptops to make our donations.

The charities we support have to come to expect this year end-up bump in revenue. Roughly one-third of charitable giving takes place in the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve. Fundraising teams wisely plan for a steep increase in December and an equally sharp drop-off in January.

December projections are always exciting to look at, but it's that sudden drop in January that makes nonprofit executives a little uneasy. Excluding their smaller, seasonal campaigns, organizations rely on that year-end bump to carry them through the next 12 months. This once-a-year spike makes it difficult for charities to plan effectively. They can estimate their revenue and chart how it should be spent, but what happens when demands for their services change because of a disaster? Or, they face an urgent, unexpected building expense?

As donors, we have the power to change this pattern and provide the charities we love with more certainty and stability throughout the year. How? By breaking up our annual contributions and making smaller gifts on a monthly or quarterly basis. 

Monthly and quarterly recurring gifts provide charities with a steady stream of revenue throughout the year. This allows charities to plan well for the months ahead because they know what they have to work with. 

And, in my cases, it allows donors to be more generous. For example, a donor who contributes $50 annually may consider making a monthly gift of $5. At the end of the year their total contribution will be $60, and they were able to give 20% over the course of the year. 

This year, as you sit down with your checkbook or laptop, to make your charitable gifts, consider supporting your favorite charities with a recurring donation. They will be so thankful you did!

Not quite convinced? Check out this post on monthly giving.

Written by Ashley Post, Communications Manager at Charity Navigator.

5 comments:

chaosmanor said...

I would be a lot more willing to do monthly donating if charities were equally as willing to seriously back off on their mailings in exchange. Some do; most seem unwilling to reduce the requests for more money. I won't name names, as that isn't really fair, but my past experience with monthly donating has caused me to stop donating to at least two charities.

Allan Seefeldt said...

I completely agree! I do not want to see more than 2 or 3 solicitations in an entire year. Otherwise, I will have concluded that they are squandering my hard-earned money! When I mail a check, I attach a statement telling them exactly that and if they send more, I will reduce or eliminate my donation to them the following year. And I do.

Unknown said...

I give monthly to several charities, which I do the old fashioned way, I sit and write checks, which makes me pay attention and give thought.
I am in full agreement with the previous comment on the barrage of solicitations. And...if the charity sends coins and gifts they are off of my list. It’s a waste.

Melinda said...

I have to agree with your comments. I would rather they spend the cost of mailings and postage on the charity. Any suggestions on how to make that happen is appreciated.

OKredbud said...

I agree 110% with the above comments. I get at least 6 email and 2 postal solicitations a day. I am really tired of my contributions going for so many solicitations.
I also check the officers annual salary and the precent of income spent on fundraising. This goes into my deliberations whom to support.
I am shifting most of my contributions to monthly giving.