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End-of-Year Fundraising Frenzy

The end-of-the-year fundraising crush went better than expected last year, and it wasn’t all about the money.

End-of-Year Fundraising Frenzy

Mary’s Center raised over $600k from individual donors throughout the year, with 50% coming during the critical period between Thanksgiving and Dec. 31. Founder Maria Gomez says the dollar figure isn’t drastically higher than 2013, but the number of individual donors went up from about 900 to 1,400. About 450 of them were new to the organization. “That’s huge,” says Maria, whose strategy is to slowly get individuals to increase their annual giving. The average gift was a little larger than usual this year, going from about $250 to $440. The number of people donating stock also increased.

End-of-Year Fundraising Frenzy

Maria says the DC-based organization, which provides health care, education and social services, saw an increase in individual donors after a PBS special on undocumented children aired in the fall. Maria was interviewed by Judy Woodruff. The organization raised the rest of its $2M annual budget, about 30%, from corporations at its gala and golf tournament.

End-of-Year Fundraising Frenzy

Maria also credits doubling the number of “cultivation events” the organization held for its increase in individual donors. The monthly events help educate current and potential donors, as well as Mary’s Center vendors, on what the organization does and its biggest challenges. Maria says 2015 will be about building stronger relationships with individual donors and finding opportunities to tweak services and increase ways for people to volunteer their talents and resources.

End-of-Year Fundraising Frenzy

Network for Good and Blackbaud have reported that online donations in December were up nearly 13% ($44.1M) over the same month in 2013. It's based on a survey of 10,000 nonprofits that use Network for Good, which provides online donation services for charities. The organization says it processed $9.9M in donations on Dec. 31, more than double what was given on Dec. 30. Nearly 43,000 people donated on the last day of the year, over 76% more than the previous day.

End-of-Year Fundraising Frenzy

PETA also reported that it fared better in 2014. President Ingrid Newkirk credits the rise of the stock market at the end of the year. PETA shifted a substantial portion of its fundraising efforts to online initiatives. Ingrid says donors in 2014 were very interested in earmarking donations to end certain experiments on dogs and monkeys. They also wanted their money to go toward freeing wild animals like orcas, chimps and elephants from amusement parks, circuses and roadside zoos.