Year-End is a crucial time for nonprofit organizations. It may be a busy time for you and your team, but it’s also an opportunity to secure as much as 20-30% of your annual giving (and even more for some organizations!)

To make the most of this critical fundraising window, start planning your Year-End campaign today. Take advantage of the following strategies to create a compelling and successful fundraising campaign. 

  1. Embrace a multi-channel approach: To reach your audience effectively, diversify your communication channels. Send out direct mail early (no later than mid-October), plan a strategic email sequence from early October to early January, and schedule SMS or MMS messages accordingly. 
  1. Leverage matching gifts: Secure a matching gift and make sure to promote it extensively. Highlight the matching gift offer in your mailings, on your homepage, donation forms, emails, and even text messages. The more you emphasize this opportunity, the more likely your supporters will contribute. 
  1. Engage your supporters: Don’t solely focus on fundraising. Offer engagement opportunities to stand out amidst the sea of Year-End solicitations. Surprise and delight your supporters with a whimsical survey or a heartfelt meme that drives clicks and ultimately leads to a donation page. Create something unique, aligned with your mission and voice, that brings joy and smiles to your donors. 
  1. Provide various giving options: Encourage donors to give through their DAF (Donor-Advised Fund) or to make a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) by sending them an email in November, ensuring their contribution arrives before year-end. Don’t forget to promote other ways to support your organization, such as monthly giving, employer matching gift programs, stock donations, planned gifts, and vehicle/RV/boat donations. 
  1. Utilize graphics and visuals: Make your goals and impact more engaging and memorable by incorporating graphics and visuals. Consider using a countdown clock or a thermometer to track progress towards your fundraising target. Customize these visuals to reflect your organization’s unique identity, enabling supporters to connect your campaign to your mission. 

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  1. Diversify your messaging signers: Instead of relying solely on your President or CEO, vary your Year-End fundraising communications from different individuals within your organization. Consider tapping your Chief Development Officer or Membership Manager as the signer for mail follow-ups, as their involvement can encourage supporters to give. Use various email signers with distinct voices and messaging styles throughout the campaign.  And don’t forget that your organization can ‘sign’ emails too! 
  1. Showcase your Matching Gift donor: Give your supporters the chance to hear directly from the matching gift donor. Sharing why they chose to provide the match opportunity and expressing what your organization means to them can be a powerful motivator for giving. 
  1. Tailor your messaging to your audience: Personalize your copy to acknowledge recent donations or lapses in giving. Be mindful of the number of messages you send to sustainers and major donors during this time, avoiding overwhelming them with excessive communication. 
  1. Upgrade giving: Analyze your donors’ gift history and cumulative giving for the year. Based on this information, make programmable asks to request an increased or upgraded gift amount. 
  1. Present tangible fundraising ask amounts: Quantify the impact of donations at various levels for your organization. By demonstrating how each gift amount can contribute to your cause, you make the giving experience more meaningful and attainable for donors. 
  1. Send multiple emails on the final day: Stand out on busy days like Giving Tuesday and December 31st by sending multiple reminder emails up until the midnight deadline. It’s crucial to cut through the clutter and keep your organization at the forefront of supporters’ minds. 
  1. Extend your match deadline: To accommodate donors who missed the initial cutoff, communicate an extended deadline for your match. This approach provides an opportunity for those supporters to contribute and have their gifts matched. 
  1. Show appreciation to your donors: Express gratitude to your donors for their support. Update your acknowledgment copy to acknowledge their matching gift and/or Year-End contribution. Consider making thank you calls, sending messages of thanks during Thanksgiving, and pre-planning your Year-End thank you message or video before the busy period ensues. 

Undoubtedly, you’ve utilized many of the strategies outlined above, but hopefully you can keep this list readily available as you plan out your upcoming Year-End campaign details. Wishing you much success and support in your end of year fundraising efforts!