For any nonprofit or charity, year-end giving can make up a critical portion of overall annual donations. In fact, 50% of annual donations are made to nonprofits between October and December, with 30% of donations made in December alone. With that in mind, making sure that you know exactly how you want to communicate with your potential donors can make or break your fiscal year. Read through our tips to help you stay on track throughout your end-of-year giving campaign.
- 10% of all donations come in during the last three days of the year, according to Forbes.
- According to Nonprofit Hub, nearly 54% of nonprofits begin planning their year-end ask campaign in October.
- Google found that from August to September, there is a 30% increase in donation-related searches.
- The above study from Google also found that 47% of donors visited multiple non-profit websites before they made their donation.
Six end-of-year fundraising appeal strategies
1. Participate in Giving Tuesday
Giving Tuesday falls on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, which is a great way to round out end-of-year giving for your charity. Giving Tuesday is a movement that occurs each year and encourages people to donate to causes and communities that they care about. In 2018, more than $400 million was raised online on Giving Tuesday. If you’re not sure how to get started, read our guide on how to plan a powerful Giving Tuesday fundraiser which teaches individuals how to raise money for a specific nonprofit. You might also consider creating a Giving Tuesday email campaign to make an even bigger impact.
2. Explain your charity’s need
It’s important for donors to feel like their donation will make a difference. When supporters understand your organization’s financial circumstances and exactly how funds will be used in the upcoming year, they may be more encouraged to donate. Be as detailed as possible in how funds will be budgeted for the upcoming year. This helps donors understand how their money will be spent and limits the potential for questions and inquiries before they make a donation.
3. Target the right audiences
Making sure you share your cause with the right audience is crucial to the success of your fundraiser. If your cause affects your local community, for example, you could reach out to your local media station for coverage.
Consider segmenting your email lists to send different email content to your network based on the cause you’re promoting. You can segment who you reach out to based on previous donation amount, past volunteers, or even geographic location. Writing specific appeal letters to each audience can drastically improve the number of donations you receive.
4. Inspire giving through storytelling
Educate supporters about the problem that your charity helps solve. To tell a more compelling story that reaches a broader audience, put together a short video for your cause, or take high-resolution photos. Use these photos and videos on your online fundraiser, your charity’s social media, and within your year-end giving letter.
5. Showcase the impact of year-end donations
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation publishes an annual report that explains the impact of donations on their foundation. By using infographics, their supporters can see exactly which causes their donations help fund. Creating transparency in how your organization uses donations can encourage recurring donations over time.
6. Thank your donors
In the digital age, there are tons of fun ways you can thank your donors—from sending personalized emails to a custom GIF that displays your gratitude on social media platforms. Try to include a graphic or photo in your thank-you note that is easily shareable on social channels like Facebook or Instagram. This way, your donors can continue to spread your message within their social networks long after their donation has been made.
Year-end fundraising ideas
1. Write a year-end giving letter
Sending an engaging year-end appeal letter to your supporters and prior donors can be the perfect reminder for them to donate to your cause. Direct mail donation request letters are common practice, but you can send your appeal letter by email if your nonprofit doesn’t have the budget to send out letters via direct mail.
The most important part of your year-end giving letter is including a call to action. Be very clear that the goal of your letter is to receive a donation to help your cause. Don’t worry about providing a wealth of information in your letter—instead, point your donors to your website where they can find more information about your cause. Remember that the purpose of your letter is to drive end-of-year donations.
Make it as easy as possible for your donors to give by starting a free online fundraiser. In your end-of-year giving letter, make sure you include the URL where they can make online donations.
2. Leverage social media
In 2018, the TIME’S UP Foundation started the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund in response to the #metoo movement that was trending on social media. With the help of social media, they were able to raise over $24 million for their cause.
That said, you don’t have to wait for a movement to occur on social media. You can start your own movement to get your organization trending, like the ALS Foundation’s Ice Bucket Challenge. Or, consider starting a social media contest to bring in donations.
3. Partner with a local group, organization, or business
Find a local business that believes in your nonprofit’s cause and ask them to join your year-end fundraising efforts. One way to do this is to incorporate donation matching into your campaign. This way, you can ask local businesses to match each dollar donated to your fundraiser. This can also expand the reach of your fundraiser to the local patrons of any groups or businesses you partner with.
Get ready for the end-of-year giving rush
It’s never too early to begin your year-end appeal to your donors. GoFundMe Charity offers charity-specific features, like multi-team fundraising, seamless registration and ticketing for events, and powerful customization tools for your fundraiser—all without subscription fees or contracts. Start building your fundraising campaign on GoFundMe Charity as early as possible so that you’re ready to launch it in the fall. Let this year set the tone for your nonprofit’s year-end giving campaigns for years to come.