The tax deduction case

November 26, 2013

What’s your best lead for year-end giving? A reminder about tax deductions? 

We don’t think so. While there’s no real hard evidence to prove it, this is our thinking.

Consider first, the fact that less than fifty percent of Americans itemize their taxes. Of course, the itemization rate increases as income goes up, but it’s not wise to assume that all of your donors have large incomes. People in lower income brackets actually tend to contribute  a greater percentage of their income to charity than people in higher brackets.

Then consider the people you are likely to reach at this time of the year.

The procrastinator: This person is well aware of your organization… they are aware of tax deadlines… they may even already have a list of organizations they plan to contribute to at year-end. Yet they haven’t found their perfect moment to sit down and take action. Your regular presence in their mailbox or in-box is the best way to win them over to action. But they need to be reminded not of the pesky stuff like taxes, but rather about why your organization is important and deserving of action.

The planner: This person does care about tax deductions and probably already has a plan in their head about how much they intend to contribute at year-end. Your goal here is to convince them that your organization belongs on the list. Possibly your goal is to be even more convincing, and get them to give more than they had originally planned. The tax deduction case then, is also not your best lead here. 

The lover: This person loves what your organization does, probably supports you already, and feels great about the world in this “season of giving.” They’re walking around with a do-good spirit, just waiting to make a difference. Your powerful, passionate, and emotional case can inspire them to do more. Your reminder about tax deductions will probably leave them feeling flat. 

The tester: This person knows about your organization, maybe follows you on social media and receives your emails. But they have yet to support your organization. They still need to be convinced, which means that you need to make a strong case for the power of their gift, and the importance of your goals and deadlines, then follow with the tax reminder as an added benefit.