Strategies for End-of-Year Fundraising Campaign Success

Thursday, May 11, 2023

For many nonprofits, a majority of their annual fundraising is collected in the last few months of the year, if not the last few days. Between reaching out to new donors, hosting year-end campaigns, and keeping your data organized, the end of the year will likely be a busy season for your nonprofit.

Fortunately, there are a few strategies nonprofits can implement to keep their campaign on target and ensure it finds an audience of receptive supporters. In this guide, we’ll explore how to pick the right year-end fundraising idea, put it into action, and maintain high levels of donor engagement throughout. Let’s get started.

Meet your donors where they are.

Donors give to the year-end fundraising campaigns they know about and see regular marketing messages for. Essentially, to attract supporters, your nonprofit needs to identify what communication channels your prospective donors use and craft messages that will perform well on those platforms.

Here are a few marketing channels to consider:

  • Social media. Social media has a low barrier to entry and a wide audience. If your nonprofit is already active on a social media platform, you can motivate your followers to spread your year-end campaign appeals or launch fundraisers on your behalf. Assess which social media sites will be the most effective for your nonprofit before launching your campaign. For example, if your nonprofit has an older audience, you can connect with them on Facebook, and create messages designed to attract new younger, donors for other platforms like Instagram.
  • Email. Email is one of the most effective channels for direct communication. Email your supporters directly to tell them about your campaign and urge them to make one last gift before the end of the year. Choose a compelling subject line to grab their attention, and ensure you personalize the email’s content to address them by name.
  • Direct mail. Traditional mail still has an audience. During the holidays, a physical card in the mail can be especially attention-grabbing. Send supporters letters and cards that celebrate the end of the year and encourage them to give.
  • Flyers. You can attract new local donors by putting up printed flyers around town. Ensure you have permission from the business or property owners where you intend to place your flyers. In some cases, you may even be able to get businesses you’re partners to hand out flyers on your behalf.
  • Your website. After supporters first hear about your nonprofit, the first place they’ll look to learn more is your website. Ensure your website is updated with information relevant to your year-end campaign, has an accessible donation page, and presents your nonprofit in a professional, trustworthy light.

Rather than picking just one or two channels to reach out to supporters on, try a multi-channel approach. This communication method helps build up brand recognition, allows nonprofits to reach a wider audience, and provides supporters with more opportunities to act on your call-to-actions. 

Plan your activities.

After determining where you’ll get in touch with donors, you need to determine how you’ll communicate with them. In other words, what content, activities, and messaging cadences will you use to engage your donors?

Consider your donors’ preferences and how they have responded to past campaigns. For many nonprofits, popular year-end fundraising campaigns include:

  • Seasonal events. The end of the year is a time for celebrating holidays and the winter weather. For local supporters, invite them to in-person events based on the season. For example, you might host a polar plunge, a hot chocolate get-together, or a holiday arts and crafts day. If the weather doesn’t allow travel or your nonprofit has many remote supporters, you can still host seasonal virtual events, like online trivia nights or holiday movie watch parties.
  • Donations on behalf of others. The holidays put people in the giving spirit, and many of your supporters may be interested in making a donation on behalf of someone else. This type of gift is a way donors can show people in their lives that they care about the same causes they do. Reach out to your supporters to promote donating as a method of gift-giving for the people in their lives.
  • eCards. People love sending holiday cards, and your nonprofit can provide a convenient virtual card delivery service while also helping donors support a good cause.

When choosing your year-end outreach activities, consider how you can align your messaging to create a cohesive experience for supporters. For example, a formal end-of-year gala and a holiday ornament sale will likely use very different types of messages, but you can still maintain consistent branding.

Add your logo, colors, and other key visual elements to each of your outreach materials, and consider how you can incorporate them into your activities. For instance, during an online event, you might add your logo to your virtual waiting room.

Keep donor motivations in mind.

Why do donors give more at the end of the year? While everyone has their own reasons, supporters commonly donate due to the holidays putting them in a giving mood or a desire to earn a tax. Of course, your nonprofit can do more to boost supporters’ motivation and earn consistent gifts throughout your year-end giving campaign. Try these strategies:

  • Make giving easy. There are many worthy causes to give to, so make sure donating to yours is as convenient as possible. Optimize your donation page to streamline the giving experience by making your pages accessible, providing suggested giving amounts, and ensuring your donation form is mobile-friendly. 
  • Demonstrate impact. What will gifts to your nonprofit accomplish? Provide supporters with specific examples of what your nonprofit has done in the past and how you intend to use contributions for future projects. Have hard numbers and statistics ready, as well as photographs and anecdotes from those personally affected by your nonprofit.
  • Create an emotional impact. Donors give to causes they feel a strong emotional connection to. You can inspire this connection by making emotional appeals in your year-end messaging to tap into the holiday spirit. Feature images of your constituents and share emotional stories that end with motivational calls to make a difference by donating. 

After donors give, motivate them to continue supporting you by showing your appreciation.  Charityproud’s mailings module makes it easy to send out donor thank-you emails and letters that reference the donors’ contribution amount, what it will go towards, and why your nonprofit appreciates their gift specifically. 

The end of the year is a busy but productive time for nonprofits. Make the most of this giving season by launching an end-of-year fundraising campaign that reaches donors where they’re at with activities tailored to their preferences. Stay in touch throughout your campaign to keep motivation high and express your gratitude for each gift.