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7 year-end appeal strategies for nonprofit fundraising

December 10, 2021
Three nonprofit professionals gather with laptops and notebooks at a table to discuss year-end appeal strategies for fundraising.

The end of the year, also known as the giving season, is an opportunity to spread the word about your nonprofit organization’s purpose and make one last push for funds. In fact, according to Double the Donation, 30% of annual giving happens in December, and 10% of all annual donations occur in the last three days of the year. 

In this guide, we’ll explore seven year-end appeal strategies that you can use to optimize your fundraising efforts and raise meaningful support during this time. Let’s get started!

1. Brand your year-end campaign consistently.

One of the easiest ways to make your nonprofit seem more professional to potential donors is by having consistent branding. When crafting the materials for your year-end appeals, make sure each piece adheres to the same color, font, and graphic style. The promotional materials you should create include:

  • Direct mail
  • Email newsletters
  • Social media posts
  • Informational pamphlets

When considering how to brand your promotional materials, ensure that there’s consistency between them and your nonprofit’s website and donation page. That way, everything will come together to create a cohesive message that reinforces your donor’s choice to give to your nonprofit.

2. Leverage multichannel marketing.

Your supporters access multiple communication channels throughout the day. Because of this, effective marketing campaigns use a variety of channels to engage their supporters. Determine which channels will be most effective for your year-end appeal by assessing how supporters engage with each channel. Select some of these channels to use together in order to reinforce your message and reach the largest possible audience.

For example, you may decide to use social media, emails, and direct mail for your year-end appeals. This allows you to reach different audiences, maximizing your outreach. Younger, more technologically savvy individuals will be more likely to see your social media posts, whereas older supporters who aren’t technologically inclined will appreciate direct mail. Emails can be used to reach an audience familiar with technology, but not inclined toward social media.

3. Use impact labels with suggested giving levels.

An impact label highlights a donation amount and a concrete benefit it brings to the nonprofit. For example, a food bank may have an impact label saying that $10 allows them to feed a family of three. These labels make giving more personal by forming a direct and tangible connection between suggested giving levels and the real-life good that each donation amount achieves. By offering your donors a variety of giving levels, you make it easier for them to decide to give.

List three to four suggested levels of giving and provide a short description of what can be accomplished with each donation level. Make sure to also include a level where donors can choose the amount they give. That way, they’ll have the option of customizing their choice if they want to.

4. Utilize mobile giving and text-to-give capabilities.

As more people integrate mobile devices into their daily lives, mobile giving has gained popularity. In fact, 25% of donors make their gifts on mobile devices. Optimize your donation pages for mobile devices to make it more convenient for supporters to respond to your year-end appeal. Additionally, consider adding a text-to-give option to make giving via mobile even easier.

5. Appeal to donors who don’t give online.

In an increasingly digital world, there’s a lot of focus on online and mobile giving. However, for a variety of reasons, some people still prefer to receive physical mail. Continue sending out letters or postcards to reach those who aren’t giving online. If your budget doesn’t allow for a robust direct mail strategy, use your fundraising software to segment supporters who have primarily donated via mail in the past, and mail cards or letter-based year-end appeals specifically to these donors.

6. Get board members involved in year-end appeals.

Your board members are some of your most ardent and well-connected supporters. Get them actively engaged in your year-end campaign by asking them to make personal phone calls to major donors. There’s no one in a better position to make the pitch to your most high-value supporters than the board members who are deeply engaged in your nonprofit’s purpose and see the impact you’re making every day.

You can also encourage your board members to speak about their role in your nonprofit at holiday gatherings and events. Details about their experience may prompt more supporters to give to your nonprofit, ensuring a successful year-end fundraising campaign.

7. Pair your thank-you messages with year-end campaign metrics. 

In addition to expressing your gratitude immediately after a gift is received, send out a recap email at the conclusion of your year-end campaign. Thank-you messages allow you to reiterate your appreciation and update everyone who donated to support your work.

Let your supporters know how much you have raised and what tangible goals the funds will go towards, such as revamping your facility or reaching a new community of beneficiaries. Demonstrating impact makes donors feel like their money went towards something influential and provides an incentive to give again in the future.

Increase fundraising with year-end appeals

Leverage the strategies above to take your year-end appeals to the next level and boost the results of your campaign. This will help you increase funds raised and let your nonprofit end the year strong!

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