Is your school ready for the year-end donation rush?

Four ways to reach donors

Using data to estimate the social impact of donors' gifts of funds, expertise, or time is one of the best ways to persuade them of their importance, writes Jason Saul for Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Non-profits receive nearly one-fourth of their gifts between Thanksgiving and New Year's, according to Indiana University's Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. There are a few ways, writes Saul, to make sure your organization is at the top of donors' lists as the giving season approaches.

How to improve relations with nontraditional alumni

Even for organizations lacking the means to publish in-depth reports, says Saul, there are simple ways to demonstrate the impact of donors' gifts.

1. Stress the final goal. Highlight what you mean to accomplish with the funds. Instead of listing something you want to buy, describe how programs will use the product. For example, instead of just stating that the program needs a bus, explain how the program will use the bus to increase health care access.

2. Demonstrate value. Show donors the most significant "change per buck" of their gift. For example, perhaps $10,000 could buy books for 2,000 kids—but that message fails to demonstrate long-term change. Instead, the program in question could explain to prospective donors that the money is enough to fund an afterschool reading program for 20 children—and that similar programs have been shown to increase kids' reading levels by at least a full grade level. "Selling your impact is about demonstrating how your organization produces valuable outcomes," says Saul.

Inspiring stories + compelling data = Donor-centric website

3.  Differentiate from your competitors. Inform donors about the unique attributes of your organization and how you will provide a "better return on investment."

4.  Not all donations need to be monetary. Asking for gifts of time and expertise that tap into supporters' knowledge base can significantly aid your institution (Saul, Chronicle of Philanthropy, 11/10).

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