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How to prepare for possible year-end scenarios

With the “fiscal cliff” looming, and varying predictions of the likely outcome, many nonprofits and their donors may be frozen. But inaction is not the right strategy. So what can you do to be positioned for any of the possible outcomes? Here are our suggestions.

What To Do Before the End of Year

  • Don’t sit and wait. Communicate to your current and former donors. Remind them of the important work you do and its impact on those you serve.
  • Encourage all donors to consider a gift prior to year-end, while the tax benefits are assured.
  • If you have donors who are committed to multi-year pledges, encourage them to make additional payments before the end of the year, while the tax benefits are assured.
  • If you are working with key volunteers who are involved in “deal making”–like developers, attorneys, financial advisors, or venture capitalists—understand that they may be sprinting to finalize deals in 2012. They’re unlikely to attend meetings or answer your calls–because they are busy, not because they’ve stopped loving the organization.
  • The rush to give may reach flood stage toward the end of the month. Be sure you have adequate staff to process the gifts that may come in on the final days of the month.
  • Donors who want to make charitable gifts in 2012, but haven’t determined which charities to support, may be placing their resources in donor advised funds. Be sure you have open channels of communication to your local community foundation.
  • Some scenarios may provide even greater incentives for donors to consider planned gifts in 2013 and beyond. Now is a good time to make sure that your legacy society and/or planned giving program is poised to take advantage.
  • Focus on messages of abundance–of ideas, resources, plans, people, commitment, giving—rather than scarcity.

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