How and Why We Need to Diversify the Philanthropic Calendar

In the world of philanthropy, year-end giving is an important time, as many nonprofits receive the majority of donations when donors are feeling charitable and seeking tax relief. But this compressed timeline during the busy holiday season can be challenging to manage for nonprofits and their supporters alike. Increasingly, people are exploring how they can move away from the end-of-year sprint and towards a culture of year-round philanthropy.

While year-end giving seems far away right now as we’re just welcoming spring, April is actually the perfect time to start thinking about building year-round support.

Suggestions for Nonprofits
Shifting existing one-time donors into monthly recurring donors is one of the best opportunities for creating predictable revenue. In our work consulting with nonprofits, we’ve seen clients pursue many different strategies to achieve this, from tactics as simple as setting their online giving default to “monthly” instead of one-time, to more targeted engagement and asks of previous one-time supporters, to a time-intensive but effective long-term strategy of branding a monthly giving program and providing specialized content to those who opt in. The spring is the perfect time to determine your monthly giving strategy for 2024 and beyond.

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Nonprofits can also work to create other moments of giving throughout the year by scheduling galas and other seasonal event sponsorship opportunities outside of the year-end rush. Organizations with fiscal years ending June 30, for example, can consider a push for donations to line up with the end of their fiscal year.

Suggestions for Individuals and Companies
People frequently give in December to minimize their tax burden by reallocating income to causes that are meaningful to them. Data suggests, however, that individuals who build an annual philanthropic budget based on prior-year giving are more comfortable making year-round donations. One vehicle to facilitate a flexible year-round giving approach is a donor-advised fund (DAF), in which a single tax-deductible contribution is often made at year’s end, but donors can direct the fund to distribute its proceeds to nonprofits year-round.

Businesses that want to establish philanthropy as part of their organizational culture should consider how best to engage their employees in giving. At Trepwise, we provide a philanthropic match for each employee, encouraging them to give to nonprofits to access our company match. In addition, we know that one of the most valuable things we can offer is our services—our consulting hours. Thus, as part of our Trepwork for Good program, we allow employees to donate “free” hours to organizations and projects they care about.

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Each company and organization should think about the product or service they offer and consider how they can use it to be part of their strategy to give back to the community while getting their teams involved and invested in the process. Any company can foster a culture of philanthropy, and in so doing, encourage a company culture that celebrates and emphasizes year-round engagement with community organizations.

An All-Season Vision
Being philanthropic truly has no season: There are good reasons to give every month. For nonprofits, tapping into a network of monthly donors and “giving moments” throughout the year can reduce reliance on an end-of-year rush. For businesses, cultivating a culture of philanthropy among employees can play a meaningful role in providing a base of year-round support to local nonprofits.

Trepwise’s vision is a world filled with thriving and equitable communities nourished by good ideas. One part of the puzzle is creating sustainable funding strategies for organizations working to realize this vision—and that starts with diversifying patterns of philanthropic giving.

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Kevin Wilkins is the founder and managing director at Trepwise, a growth consulting firm. He may be reached at

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