This month, we're thinking about thanks... especially for those who support nonprofits in their important work. It's time to think outside the box about stewardship. 


It’s the fourth quarter of the year: a time when gratitude and giving converge. It’s the most wonderful and worrisome time of the year for most nonprofits as they seek to engage their friends, neighbors, volunteers, and donors in one last philanthropic push. Why?

  • 31% of all annual giving occurs in December.
  • 12% of all giving happens in the last three days of the year.
  • 28% of nonprofits raise between 26-50% of their annual funds from their year-end ask.

By now you have most likely carefully crafted the stories that tell of the need for those you seek to serve. You have determined your communications channels (direct mail, email, social media, text to give, peer-to-peer, etc.). Your photos are compelling, and your videos are heartwarming. All systems are GO for you to begin to share to selected audiences before year end.  

Or are they?

Even as you make an ask by sharing your story, you can steward these donors by making them aware that there are other ways to support your organization beyond cash, check, credit card, PayPal, Venmo, etc. This way of giving can both serve them while helping to make a greater impact towards the causes that are important them. Have you told them another way to make their gift using their appreciated assets? 

80% of donors own appreciated assets, such as stocks, mutual funds, or bonds, but only 21% of those donors have contributed these types of assets to charity. 

That means 59% of the folks you may have on your segmented lists for your year-end appeals have another option on how to make their gift: one that could provide a tax benefit to them at the close of an unusual year in the markets. While the S&P 500, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite have been on a roller coaster, overall this year all major stock indices are still up considerably — from 13-17%. 

As a result, many individuals have highly-appreciated stocks, mutual funds, or bonds that they have held for more than one year in their accounts. And if you make them aware of the potential, they could come to see this as an opportunity to minimize their taxes and maximize their impact on a need that your organization is addressing.

In addition, if that person itemizes their deductions on their tax forms, those same appreciated stocks, mutual funds or bonds may offer an additional tax benefit in comparison to cash donations. Beyond claiming a deduction for the fair market value of an asset, one can potentially eliminate the capital gains tax they would otherwise incur if they sold the asset and donated the cash. This can mean even more going to your organization and less to taxes. 

Before you finalize the content for your year-end appeal, perhaps add a paragraph or a “PS” such as:

Do you own appreciated stocks? Those assets present a great opportunity to support (your mission or cause). When you choose to do so, both you and (name of your organization) benefit — we receive the full value of the stock and you avoid paying capital gains tax.


Share why AND tell how to finish strong!


Want some other stewardship ideas? Here are some great ideas from DBD alumni:

Thanking Family

Is an Invoice Your Stewardship Plan?

How to Treat a Friend


Header Photo by Kit Ishimatsu on Unsplash


Posted by Robyn Furness-Fallin
Robyn Furness-Fallin

Written by Robyn Furness-Fallin

Robyn Furness-Fallin, CFRE, offers financial development and volunteer leadership consulting for nonprofits and higher ed. As a Senior Consultant with DBD Group, Robyn is a shrewd strategist who helps bring clarity and focus to the campaigns she supports.

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