Donations, peak collection during the holidays

It’s a busy time for Stephanie Ellis, CEO of Wild Care Cape Cod, – and it has little to do with holidays.

Ellis works during peak fundraising season for the Eastham-based nonprofit that cares and rehabilitates wildlife. Most of its donations arrive at the end of the year. Ellis coordinates one of her two annual mailings to coincide with the holiday gifting season.

“People have come to expect it,” she said of the donation request mailings. “They are setting aside funds for the end of the year.”

The fall call for the Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis runs from Nov. 22 through the end of January, generating between 60 and 70 percent of his annual donations, according to museum director Benton Jones.

“We recognize that the end of the year is an important time for families to make their annual donations,” he said. “The vast majority come at this time of year.”

Jones said he hoped the community could donate $ 50,000 so the museum could secure a matching $ 50,000 grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. The money is for a new HVAC system.

“This would keep the permanent collection permanent,” Jones said.

According to a 2014 report by Charity browser, 31% of annual donations took place in December. And 12% of annual giving took place in the last three days of the year.

The John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum is a bit unusual in this regard. It receives donations throughout the year, according to executive director Wendy Northcross. “But we are attending #GivingTuesday (November 30 this year) and sending out an annual unrestricted donation request,” she wrote in an email.

Due to COVID-19, the museum sent a letter announcing the reopening of the museum as well as the appointment of Northcross. A larger mailing targeting donors for the past three years was sent out in November, outlining the museum’s plans for the next 30 years.

Email newsletters promoted a special membership package for families as a holiday gift idea. Another email campaign promoting #GivingTuesday asked for donations to fund scholarships for local high school students, Northcross said.

Wild Care has gone from three annual mailings to two.

“With the apocalypse happening, I didn’t want to push people,” Ellis said, referring to the pandemic. There was a silver lining. “We have realized that we are saving thousands of dollars in printing and shipping costs.”

Shipments, even targeted shipments with wholesale charges, are expensive. The Cape Cod Museum of Art has a database of people who have donated over the past two or three years. The museum requests them twice a year.

“The nonprofit (post) rate is always very expensive,” Jones said.

Charity Navigator, GuideStar provide financial information on nonprofit organizations

Charity Navigator rates nearly 200,000 charities in various categories, giving potential donors a picture of how organizations manage their money. This information can be essential for anyone who wants to end the year on a generous note.

Kevin Scally, relationship manager with Charity Navigator, was quoted in a Forbes article as saying, “Donors should give with their hearts, but also with their heads.

This is where Charity Navigator and GuideStar, a database with information on 2.7 million nonprofits, can help. Both assess nonprofits on their leadership, transparency, financial health, and the effectiveness of their programs. But the ratings are only as good as the information gleaned from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service and their self-report surveys. Not all non-profit organizations can be found in their databases.

Jeannette Kerr, marketing and communications coordinator at the Wellfleet Bay Mass Audubon Society Wildlife Preserve, said the reason everyone makes year-end calls is because she works.

Kerr couldn’t talk about fundraising strategies. But according to Charity Navigator, the Massachusetts Audubon Society has a four-star rating, with a high score on transparency, accountability and finances.

A good score, coupled with a passion for birds, or the organization-sponsored educational programs, or support for the endangered open space on Cape Town, and Audubon might be the perfect fit for a late donation. year.

Or someone might want to support a food bank, an educational nonprofit, an organization that provides services to veterans. There are worthy local, national and international organizations, and making informed decisions can be a comfort to those wary of fundraising.

When COVID-19 hit, public events and fundraisers, which brought in about 40% of Wild Care donations, had to be canceled. Ellis started giving virtual lectures. Viewers in California, Connecticut, Florida, New York, and Virginia have started tapping into Facebook Live events.

It opened up a whole new world of opportunity, she said. Ellis posted on Facebook, hosted virtual events, and sent emails using Constant Contact, an online marketing company. Wild Care won an audience that stretched from Florida to California to Canada. Donations have even increased.

“We stayed alive,” Ellis said.

After a “bomb cyclone” hit Cape Town in October, Wild Care treated eight injured Northern Gannets. Ellis appealed for donations and raised $ 1,059 in less than 24 hours. Money paid for Pedialyte, intensive care formula, vitamins and minerals, fish and even salt for a therapeutic pool.

#GivingTuesday stimulates donations

On #GivingTuesday, a day dedicated to donating to nonprofit organizations, Wild Care received $ 6,400. The facility plans to purchase fans, iPads for staff, and also use the donations to renovate a songbird aviary and owl shelter, Ellis said.

The JFK Hyannis Museum will use its #GivingTuesday donations for scholarships, Northcross said.

While the end of the year is the peak season for donations, the request for donations lasts all year round.

The staff at Wild Care never know which animals will come through the door. Audubon volunteers welcome visitors to their shrines, but also collect fees from non-members. And while the JFK Museum hosts special events and exhibitions, it welcomes donations throughout the year.

“Supporting nonprofits sustains the fabric of the community,” Jones said.

Contact Denise Coffey at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter: @DeniseCoffeyCCT.

Carol N. Valencia