If you’re a nonprofit fundraiser and marketer (if you’re not, maybe this post will inspire you to become one!), you know that the last two months of the year are critical for meeting goals, testing new strategies, and most importantly: getting your cause in front of people who will want to support your mission.  

The success (or failure) of strategies during Giving Tuesday and Year-End have impacts on your programs in the year ahead, and it’s important to get it right, while also not being afraid to try new things.  

Our digital team at K2D Strategies oversaw a myriad of clients from different mission backgrounds through the end-of-year giving season. Strategies varied from bread-and-butter deadline-oriented campaigns to a “giving hike” where donors supported an Appalachian Trail hike to victory. As we sift through the results from over $3 million of K2D client donations, we’re starting to think about some “INs and OUTs” for 2024 digital fundraising.  

SMS: IN

(So in, like, if you’re not doing SMS, this is your sign to start!) 

With open rates in the high 90s, SMS has been an increasingly important channel in the past few years. When messaging is aligned with email and other channels, it also helps bolster overall performance. Remember, digital channels don’t exist in a silo, and email donors are web donors and web donors are… you get it.  

Also, let’s not forget the low cost of SMS means good ROAS. Clients saw 5, 10, and even 30 times their spend in return of donations during key campaign moments last year.  

Deadline Day Fundraising: OUT  

Okay, mostly out. Deadlines are still important, just ask your boss. But the point is, don’t wait to start Giving Tuesday fundraising on Giving Tuesday and don’t wait until NYE to start your year-end push. A K2D client partner who only sent fundraising emails on the day of Giving Tuesday last year started their campaign a week earlier this year. They increased their revenue by 53% in 2023!

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Deadline Day Fundraising: OUT  

Okay, mostly out. Deadlines are still important, just ask your boss. But the point is, don’t wait to start Giving Tuesday fundraising on Giving Tuesday and don’t wait until NYE to start your year-end push. A K2D client partner who only sent fundraising emails on the day of Giving Tuesday last year started their campaign a week earlier this year. They increased their revenue by 53% in 2023!

Themes: IN

(This blog post has a theme – you fell for it.)

Digital campaigns, like a good book, need a clear beginning, middle, and climax. The climax is obvious, a big final push creating a sense of urgency on the final day, but sometimes we see fundraisers forget the middle and beginning. Good campaigns need a hook, what’s your “Call me Ishmael.” to get folks curious and engaged. Throw out the notion that one sentence and one-click are where the donations come from. You’re storytelling: it’s multiple touch points coming together to pull the donor in and create a full picture of their impact.  

Things like giving your campaign a name like K2D client’s “Black Wolf Friday” create awareness around your campaign and help bring messaging across different digital channels together for a cohesive campaign brand.  

Less is more: OUT (sorry) 

Don’t be afraid to send too many emails or start using new digital channels. On average, clients who added two more touch points to their Giving Tuesday and Year-End strategies saw more revenue. There might be a point where you’re sending too much, but let the metrics and opt-outs speak for that, not one or two annoyed donors. In fact, a donor who reaches out with their concerns is a GREAT donor and creates a GREAT opportunity to strengthen your relationship with them! 

Whenever you run campaigns, you’re going to see heightened opt-out rates, but those people weren’t likely to become your new donors. If anything, it’s helpful to have disengaged folks removed from your list to improve your open and click rates for the sake of your sender reputation.  

If someone unsubscribes from your emails, they just weren’t that into you, and that’s okay!  

Do you have INs and OUTs that you learned from your November and December fundraising? We’d love to hear from you!