Response Updates

The Ultimate Guide to End-of-Year Giving [2024]

Reported by Convoy of Hope
End-of-Year Giving Header

As the year comes to a close, it’s time to embrace the spirit of giving and make a meaningful impact through end-of-year giving.

This guide will:

Whether you’re a nonprofit organization or a church, this article will equip you with the tools to maximize your fundraising efforts during this critical time of the year.

What is End-of-Year Giving?

End-of-year giving, also referred to as end-of-the-year giving, is the act of making charitable donations or contributions to nonprofit organizations, charities, or churches during the final months of the calendar year.

It is a period when individuals, families, and businesses reflect on their blessings and feel compelled to give back to causes they care about deeply.

For Donors: End-of-Year Considerations

As the year draws to a close, many individuals seek to make a positive impact through charitable donations to churches and nonprofits.

However, it’s essential to approach the year-end giving season with financial wisdom.

When thinking about your financial situation, consider all of your assets, including unrealized capital gains. 

For example, your income from investments may have gone down, but the value of your home may have doubled.

Consider making a gift not only from current income, but from unrealized growth on all assets.

In this section, we will explore the most financially wise ways to make an end-of-year donation, enabling you to maximize your support while optimizing your personal financial situation.

1. Evaluate Your Financial Situation

Before making an end-of-year donation, take a moment to evaluate your overall financial situation. Consider your income, expenses, and any potential tax benefits associated with charitable giving.

Understanding your financial position will help you determine a donation amount that aligns with your budget and philanthropic goals.

2. Research & Choose Reputable Organizations

To ensure that your donation makes a meaningful impact, research and select reputable churches or nonprofits.

Look for organizations with:

  • • A transparent track record.
  • • A clear mission statement.
  • • A demonstrated impact in the community.

Reputable organizations are more likely to utilize your donation efficiently and effectively to support their programs and initiatives.

To assist with this step, we’ve written an article discussing 10 essential factors to consider when selecting the best Christian charities. By considering these factors, you can identify trustworthy charities that are making a real difference in the world.

3. Verify Tax-Exempt Status

To claim tax benefits for your end-of-year donation, confirm that the church or nonprofit you choose has tax-exempt status. This information can usually be found on their website or by contacting the organization directly.

Donations to tax-exempt organizations are generally eligible for tax deductions, allowing you to reduce your taxable income for the year.

4. Make a Gift of an IRA Qualified Charitable Distribution (QDC)

One of the primary benefits of an IRA QCD —  for individuals who are 70½ years of age or older — is the potential tax advantages it offers.

With an IRA QCD, individuals can donate a portion of their IRA directly to a qualified charity without incurring taxes on the distributed amount.

This distribution is excluded from the donor’s taxable income, which can result in a lower overall tax liability.

For individuals who are subject to Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from their IRAs, an IRA QCD can fulfill these distribution requirements. 

5. Consider Bunching Donations to Increase Tax Benefit

Bunching charitable contributions is a strategy that has gained popularity in recent years, particularly as it relates to end-of-year giving. This approach involves consolidating several years’ worth of charitable donations into a single year, maximizing the potential tax benefits for donors.

Bunching allows donors to surpass the standard deduction threshold, which can significantly enhance their tax deductions. This can result in a larger tax deduction and potentially lower tax liability, allowing donors to retain more of their hard-earned money.

6. Consider Donating Appreciated Assets

If you own appreciated assets, such as stocks, bonds, or mutual funds, donating them directly to a church or nonprofit can provide additional financial advantages.

By donating appreciated assets instead of selling them, you can avoid capital gains taxes while still receiving a tax deduction for the fair market value of the assets.

Consult with a financial advisor or tax professional to understand the specific tax implications and requirements for donating appreciated assets.

We’ve created a comprehensive guide that will walk you through the process of donating stock to charity, including how to take advantage of tax savings, IRS rules, and tips for making the most of your charitable donation.

7. Utilize Donor-Advised Funds

Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs) offer a convenient and financially wise way to manage your end-of-year donations. By contributing to a DAF, you can make a tax-deductible donation to the fund and then recommend grants to your chosen churches or nonprofits over time.

This allows you to take an immediate tax deduction while maintaining flexibility in distributing funds to organizations in subsequent years.

Pro Tip: Look at all the fees associated with ongoing management of your Donor Advised Fund, including overall administrative fees and investment fees.

Delve into the world of meaningful giving! Read our comprehensive article on Donor Advised Funds and initiate your path to impactful generosity.

8. Take Advantage of Employer Matching Programs

Many employers have matching gift programs that can amplify the impact of your end-of-year donation. Check if your company offers such a program and if they are willing to match your contribution to eligible organizations. This doubles the impact of your donation and maximizes your financial support.

9. Consider Gift-in-Kind Donations

A gift-in-kind donation refers to the contribution of goods, services, or noncash assets to a charitable organization or nonprofit entity.

Unlike monetary donations, which involve the transfer of funds, a gift-in-kind donation involves the provision of tangible items or specific services that have value and can benefit the receiving organization.

If you work for an organization that might consider a gift-in-kind donation, consider setting up a meeting with your charity and your workplace to help facilitate or begin a relationship. 

Convoy of Hope Disaster Response Team loads relief supplies ahead of Hurricane Florence.
Convoy of Hope Disaster Response Team loads relief supplies ahead of Hurricane Florence.

10. Document & Save Receipts

To claim a tax deduction for your end-of-year donation, it is crucial to document and save receipts or acknowledgment letters from the church or nonprofit. These documents serve as evidence of your contribution and are necessary when filing your tax return. Organize and retain these records in a safe place for future reference.

Making an end-of-year donation to a church or nonprofit is a wonderful way to support causes close to your heart and make a difference in the world. By approaching your donation with financial wisdom, you can maximize the impact of your contribution while optimizing potential tax benefits.

For Churches: End-of-Year Giving Campaign Ideas

Whether you’re a nonprofit organization or a church, implementing effective fundraising strategies and creative campaign ideas will help you maximize your impact and ensure you meet your campaign goals.

Remember to inspire potential donors through storytelling, leverage the holiday spirit, and utilize compelling calls to action. Start planning your year-end fundraising campaign early, and consider incorporating the following ideas.

1. Share Inspiring Stories

Share impactful stories of how minute donations have made a significant difference in the lives of those served by your organization.

These narratives bring to life the impact of giving and create an emotional connection that motivates individuals to contribute.

Make sure your stories meet the following criteria to amplify their impact. 

Capture Attention & Build Emotional Connection

Inspiring stories have the power to captivate attention and touch the hearts of your congregation. When crafting your end-of-year giving campaign, weave narratives that illustrate the transformative power of donations.

Share stories of individuals whose lives have been positively impacted by the church’s programs, community outreach, or charitable initiatives. By showcasing these stories, you create an emotional connection that resonates with potential donors, igniting their desire to contribute and make a difference.

Demonstrate Tangible Impact

Inspiring stories serve as powerful evidence of the tangible impact that the church’s work has on individuals and the community.

Whether it’s a testimonial from someone who found hope and support through the church’s counseling services or a narrative of a transformed life through spiritual guidance, these stories demonstrate real-life outcomes of the church’s efforts.

Sharing such stories during your end-of-year giving campaign allows donors to see the direct influence of their contributions, providing them with a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

Share Videos Externally

Stories have a unique ability to reach beyond the walls of your church and connect with a broader audience. In addition to sharing stories within your congregation, utilize various communication channels to amplify their reach.

Leverage:

  • • Social media platforms
  • • Your church website
  • • Newsletters
  • • And community events

to spread inspiring narratives. Engage with your congregation and encourage them to share these stories with their networks, extending the impact of your end-of-year giving campaign beyond the church’s immediate circle.

By incorporating these elements into your stories, you create an emotional connection with potential donors, demonstrate the tangible outcomes of your work, and inspire generosity and engagement — moving you steadily toward your fundraising goals. 

2. Make Year-End Appeals

Craft compelling year-end appeals that emphasize the urgency of the giving season. Encourage potential donors to make a lasting impact before the year concludes, reminding them of the benefits of tax-deductible contributions.

When making a year-end appeal, it is essential to provide clear and convenient donation options. Make it easy for potential donors to contribute by offering multiple giving channels.

That could include:

  • • Online giving platforms.
  • • Mobile apps.
  • • Text-to-give options.
  • • Traditional methods like collection envelopes.

Ensure that the donation process is user-friendly, secure, and easily accessible, so individuals can contribute with ease and confidence.

3. Have Strong Calls to Action

Incorporate clear and compelling calls to action (CTA) throughout your campaign materials. Use phrases like “Join us in making a difference!” or “Donate now to change lives.” Make it easy for donors to take action by providing a streamlined donation form or donation page.

A strong CTA should provide potential donors with a range of giving options. Some individuals may prefer traditional methods like check or cash, while others may opt for online platforms or mobile apps.

By offering multiple giving options for donors based on their preferences, you create convenience for a broader audience. Clearly present these options in your CTA, making it easy for individuals to choose the method that suits them best.

4. Encourage Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Empower your existing supporters to become advocates for your cause. Encourage them to create their own fundraising pages and reach out to their networks for donations.

One of the greatest strengths of peer-to-peer fundraising is the leveraging of personal relationships.

When supporters reach out to their networks, they bring with them established trust, shared experiences, and a genuine passion for your church’s work.

These personal connections enhance the effectiveness of fundraising appeals, making them more compelling and relatable. Donors are more likely to respond positively to a request from someone they know and trust, increasing the likelihood of contributions.

5. Find & Promote Matching Gifts

Collaborate with a generous sponsor or organization that is willing to match donations made during the end-of-year giving season. When donors learn that their contributions will be matched, they are more likely to give at higher levels or even make their first-time donations.

This doubling of impact creates a powerful incentive for individuals to participate and make their contributions count.

The opportunity to have their donations matched also creates a sense of urgency and excitement. It adds an extra layer of value to their contributions and reinforces the impact they can make through their giving. This motivation encourages individuals who may have been on the fence about donating to take action and participate in the campaign.

6. Encourage Recurring Donations

As churches prepare for their end-of-year giving campaigns, it’s essential to consider strategies that promote sustained support beyond the holiday season.

One impactful approach is to encourage single-time donors to become recurring donors.

Recurring donations offer a consistent stream of support that strengthens your church’s financial stability and allows for better planning and execution of programs and ministries.

Recurring donors tend to feel a stronger connection to your church’s mission and vision. By nurturing their ongoing support, you have the opportunity to deepen their engagement and involvement.

Bonus Tips for Church End-of-Year Giving

Here are some additional strategies to enhance your church’s fundraising efforts during this season.

1. Engaging Sermons – Incorporate messages into your sermons that emphasize the importance of end-of-year giving and the impact it has on both the church and the community it serves. Encourage your congregation to reflect on their blessings and express gratitude through giving.

2. Donation Envelopes – Provide special envelopes during services to make it easy for churchgoers to contribute to the end-of-year giving campaign. Additionally, offer online donation options for tech-savvy congregants who prefer to give electronically.

3. Fundraising Events – Organize fundraising events that align with the holiday season. Consider hosting a holiday concert, bake sale, or charity drive to engage the community and inspire generosity. Encourage local businesses to participate and contribute to the cause.

4. Appreciation & Communication – Don’t forget to express gratitude to your donors and keep them informed about the impact of their contributions. Regularly communicate updates, success stories, and the goals achieved through their generosity.

Next Steps

Throughout this article, we have explored the importance of sharing inspiring stories, creating strong calls to action, harnessing the potential of peer-to-peer fundraising, maximizing matching gifts, and encouraging recurring donations.

These strategies can empower compassion-minded donors to connect with causes they care about deeply and give churches and nonprofits the tools to effectively communicate their mission and engage their communities.

If you’re looking to the new year with a renewed goal to live compassionately, empathetically, and generously, make every day an opportunity to give and every interaction an invitation to contribute to the betterment of our world.

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