Processing Calendar Year End Gifts: Procedural & Relational

The first few weeks in January is a busy time when not-for-profits are processing calendar-year-end (CYE) gifts. For many not-for-profits, processing gifts is a procedural activity, making sure gifts are entered into the database and acknowledged in a timely manner. Even though processing gifts should be done quickly, you shouldn’t think of this as an procedural activity. Processing CYE gifts should also be relational.

The Philanthropic Cycle

The Philanthropic Cycle is your guide in securing philanthropic income, and its basis is in developing relationships with individuals and organizations that have a solid interest in your mission. Processing gifts is part of your Stewardship endeavors, and you shouldn’t just go through the motions of thanking donors. They invested in your mission, so you need to take the time to thank and recognize your donors in a way that is meaningful to them.

The Philanthropic Cycle 

Why Not Thank Your Donors Personally?

This month, why not thank your donors by providing them with a personal impact report? A personal impact report provides each of your donors with the total of what they have given in the past year, as well as their total lifetime giving. With those two amounts, outline what the numbers mean for your organization. For instance, if you’re an organization providing child development, your personal impact report could look like this below:


Dear Sarah and Don,

Thank you for investing in our mission to provide early child development services for youth living in South Bend, Indiana.  You support our mission with your lifetime giving of $5,000 and your 2018 giving total of $1,500.

In 2018, with your assistance, we were able to:

  • provide three Pre-K scholarships for our early intervention program
  • purchase four gross motor skill games [include a picture]
  • travel to Chicago and visit the Children’s Museum

Thank you for believing in the work that we do. Your partnership is invaluable, and your support has enabled us to work with children ages 3-5 so that they are prepared to succeed in Kindergarten and elementary school. Since our founding, 98% of our students have successfully completed each grade [provide a chart with the statistics].


Create a Sense of Ownership

Imagine how your donors will feel when they receive their own personal impact report.  They will feel proud knowing that their donation, no matter what the level, had a positive impact on your mission. The report will strengthen their relationship with your organization. With a personal impact report, not only are you achieving a necessary procedural task, but also a relational goal.

Personal Impact Report is Worth the Investment

For those of you worried that creating a personal impact report will be difficult, please don’t be. As long you keep track of your donors and their giving, you can easily create a simple letter where you merge the necessary data. Many donors aren’t expecting such a report, and they will appreciate the simplicity of it. The key is to be authentic and appreciative, and you must make sure that you illustrate the impactful ways in which philanthropic income makes a difference.

If you do send out personal impact reports, please let me know how it goes.

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