Are you ready for the end-of-year philanthropic season? Over the last few weeks, we’ve explored some of our favorite tips and best practices through the Grow Your Gifts series to help you make the most of this giving season. If you missed any of our posts, check out our seven steps to success, recapping the entire series:

  1. Understand online giving trends: Online giving is growing and online donors give more than offline donors, according to a Blackbaud report.  Get the full story  from two of our favorite giving reports from Blackbaud and M+R Research Labs and NTEN.
  2. Know your seasonality: Almost 35% of 2011 online giving happened in October through December, according to a Blackbaud giving report.  Are you seeing the same trends? You can see exactly what your seasonality looks like with new Google Trends (formerly Google Insights for Search).
  3. Optimize your AdWords campaigns: To get your Google AdWords and Google Grants campaigns ready to reach people searching on, make sure you add new keywords, social extensions and sitelinks.
  4. Make donation emails more effective: Email donations made up 35% of online giving in 2011, according to the eNonprofit Benchmarks Study. To create the strongest impact, add videos and images that can tell your story visually and hyperlinks to social media to showcase your community.
  5. Use donor information wisely: Turning one-time donors into active and on-giving givers can often be a challenge, so understanding personal giving trends is important in helping communicate with and persuade those donors. Google Spreadsheets and filters can help you organize and sort data, and sharing Google Calendars can help your team coordinate on different mailings and communications.
  6. Save time with the Google for Nonprofits template bundle: Google Docs is a great way to organize information and create communications. So, to get you started, we’ve provided templates for donor thank-you cards, donor mailing labels, event invitations, RSVPS and newsletters.
  7. Accept donations with Google Wallet: Allow donors to make online gifts quickly and easily with Google Wallet. Just make sure you sign up for a Google merchant account, identify yourself as an IRS certified 501(c)3 and begin collecting donations.

We’re excited to see how you this information helps you make the biggest impact over the next few months. If you have any tips to share, let us and the Google for Nonprofit community know on our Google+ page.

Posted by Katie Kellogg, Google for Nonprofits team