Year-end can be understandably very focused on fundraising, but given the importance of strong donor stewardship and high inflation that may place donating out of reach for some supporters, many nonprofits are curious about how to engage their donors without asking for gifts.

EveryAction asked Jen Parker what her recommendations were for nonprofits that want to build strong donor relationships with non-donation messages and asks:

There’s no doubt this last year has been a wild ride in the nonprofit fundraising space. Organizations are seeing some of the highest average gifts we’ve seen in years, while also witnessing a fall off in donor giving and retention as the highest inflation rate in over 40 years continues to affect donors’ choices and disposable income.

As we approach year-end and are anticipating a windfall of revenue for some, nonprofits need to keep donor stewardship and engagement top of mind to ensure donors (and those who aren’t yet donors) are engaged and cultivated. This is also a critical time to build emotional investment with donors, so they see your communication with them as a relationship that’s committed for the long haul.

Here are a few ideas to consider as you continue building your strong donor relationships without a direct ask or push for year-end giving:

  • Acknowledge that things have been tough on everyone and thank the donor for all of the support they’ve been able to provide. This can be done in a heartfelt personal email, or through a “thank you” video from staff or recipients of funding. Bonus points for filming your video on an iPhone or other smartphone to underscore the authenticity and person-to-person feel of the message.
  • Offer an inexpensive freemium, such as a sticker (or digital sticker) that the donor can use to outwardly show their support for your organization without making a gift. (We recently reactivated more than 10,000 digital constituents for an advocacy group with this approach—fingers crossed for year-end!)
  • Share the results of this past year’s support and the impact their giving has made. We recently did this for one client as part of a monthly stewardship series we developed. In this case, we gave midlevel and major donors insight into the backstory on a big land acquisition, using video, still photos, and infographics. Since launching this series last year, we’ve seen retention among these donors increase eight percentage points!

These cultivation efforts will not only show your donors how much you care, they may even inspire some donors to make unexpected gifts.