As we approach the end of the year, be prepared to encounter donors who want to make an unusual or nontraditional gift. It might be a gift of land. You might receive gifts of stocks and bonds. I’ve had donors who wanted to donate art, vehicles and antiques.

I encourage you to think carefully about accepting these types gifts. Consult your attorney, accountants and board members. Make sure you are able to make the most of the gift. (Do you have a stock broker to handle the stock gifts? Are you able to convert land to cash if you are not able to own land? Is the vehicle worth enough to make accepting the gift beneficial for all parties?)

You may encounter an unusual gift with strings attached. Tread cautiously! I’m always careful to make sure my nonprofit can handle all the strings that may come attached to a nontraditional gift. If you aren’t prepared to handle those strings, you need to politely decline the gift. Read more about this topic at

 This season of shopping brings additional opportunities for a different kind of fundraising. Many online retailers have a charity option that allows donors to select a charity and have a portion of their purchase go to that charity.

If you and your organization are not taking advantage of these types of opportunities, now is the time to start. It’s usually easy to set up and very low cost. When you are established with retailers, then you’ll want to let your donors know about it.

Always remember to help your donor investigate the tax benefits of nontraditional or unusual gifts. I am always cautious to not give tax advice; instead, I recommend the donor consult their tax accountant and/or their attorney to explore how to maximize benefits for the donor and the nonprofit organization. You can attend such a meeting to answer questions or provide information—not to advise.

I try to review information from the IRS to stay up-to-date on latest changes.

If you want to try some nontraditional ways to expand your donor base, this time of year is a good opportunity to do that.

You might be in a good position to use mobile fundraising appeals, especially if your appeals throughout the year have been  primarily the traditional printed and mailed appeals.

I’ve had success connecting mobile fundraising activities with an organizational event. And it doesn’t have to be a fundraising event! Perhaps you do some sort of winter holiday event. Maybe you have a thank you event or holiday party. These are opportunities to do some mobile fundraising.

Fundraiser Insight shares ways to enhance an event with mobile appeals. Read more at