The last couple of months of the year is about so much more than cooler weather and holiday preparation. For those in the fundraising world it can be the busiest time of the year. It also typically represents the most successful and significant fundraising efforts throughout a year.
We know how important end of year fundraising is for an organization but we also recognize that not everyone has the luxury of a team to make this happen. We’ve put together this comprehensive guide together to walk you through the steps to prepare for a successful end-of-year fundraising campaign campaign.
1.The Significant of End-of-Year Appeals
From a statistics perspective, the majority of gifts come in the last quarter, this is why it’s often referred to as the giving season. A third of all giving is happening between October and December with more than 30% coming in the final month. This time presents a prime opportunity to engage with donors and secure vital financial support for your organization.
As the year comes to an end, people often feel reflective, grateful, and in the spirit of giving. Knowing that the majority of yearly donations peek at this time of year, it’s a great time to target a fundraising appeal.
In many areas, donations that have been made before year end, can be claimed as tax deductions for that year. This is an extra incentive that motivates some to give. Share this insight with new and younger contacts who might not know about this benefit.
For some organizations, the annual fundraising goal is dependent on the outcome of end-of-year appeals. Meeting, or even surpassing annual fundraising goals can be life changing for an organization's beneficiaries, and the bulk of these gifts could be brought in during the last quarter.
Here are some of the things you need to consider, address and plan for as you prepare for your end of year fundraiser.
Looking back on last year’s fundraising efforts is a great way to identify what worked well and what didn’t work. Use these valuable insights to help build a more effective fundraising strategy this year.
Set specific, measurable, and realistic fundraising goals for your end-of-year campaign. This allows you to have something to define success by and track progress and pivot your strategy or tactics.
Diversify your communication channels to reach donors where they are most comfortable. This may include email campaigns, direct mail, text, recorded voice messaging, and even phone calls. A cohesive multi-channel strategy ensures maximum exposure and engagement.
Make sure your website and donation page are user-friendly and mobile-responsive. Use a campaign giving or landing page and direct contacts there to streamline the donation process and make it as simple and smooth as possible.
Create a calendar outlining the targeted timing for your communication. Plan in advance as best as possible for key dates, such as Giving Tuesday, and schedule regular updates, appeals, and donor testimonials throughout the campaign period.
Start engaging donors early in the season. Send them warm-up messages, share success stories, and build anticipation for the campaign. Encourage them to mark their calendars and get involved from the beginning.
Consider incorporating matching gift challenges into your campaign. A generous donor or sponsor can pledge to match donations up to a certain amount, motivating others to give and putting the pressure on to give now.
Address donors by name, reference their past support or interests, hyperpersonalizing is the best way to connect with your donors and make them feel like a valued part of your organization's community. This tactic yields big results, it's not a nice to have, it is a must have.
The heart of any effective appeal lies in its storytelling. Share stories of impact, showcasing how your donors' gifts have benefitted your organization or beneficiaries. Use real-life examples of individuals or communities touched by your organization's work. Paint a vivid picture that tugs at the heartstrings.
Offer donors flexibility in how they give. Provide options for one-time gifts, monthly donations, and even legacy giving. Provide other giving options as well like text to give, mail in checks, over the phone donation processing, and integrated giving pages for in the moment gifts.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Incorporate compelling images and videos that reinforce your message. Show the faces of your organization’s community and beneficiaries. Use specific visuals to connect with each segment. Your design should be clear, clean and crisp.
Be crystal clear about your organization's goals, how donations will be used, and the impact they will have. Transparency builds trust, a vital component of successful fundraising
Create a sense of urgency. Explain why the end of the year is a critical time for your organization. Encourage donors to act now rather than later.
Don't forget to express gratitude. Let donors know how much their support means and the impact it will have. A simple "thank you" can go a long way in building lasting donor relationships. Plan your post-campaign gratitude efforts in advance. Thank donors promptly and sincerely, showcasing the impact of their contributions. Recognition and appreciation build donor loyalty.
Throughout the campaign, closely monitor your progress against your goals. Be prepared to adapt your strategy if necessary. Analyze which channels and messages are most effective for your organization and make real-time adjustments to get the most out of your efforts.
After sending the initial appeal, follow up with personalized thank-you messages and updates on the impact of donations. Show donors that their support continues to make a difference
End-of-year fundraising appeals are a culmination of your organization's work and a testament to the generosity of your donors. Crafting a compelling appeal requires a blend of storytelling, transparency, and heartfelt gratitude. When done right, these appeals can help your organization reach its goals and make a profound impact on the causes you serve.
The end-of-year solicitation campaign is a crucial opportunity to engage donors and secure the resources needed to advance your organization's mission. By reflecting on past performance, setting clear goals, segmenting your donor list, and implementing a multi-channel strategy, you can prepare for a successful campaign that resonates with donors and fosters their continued support. With thoughtful planning and execution, you can make the most of this giving season and ensure a bright future for your cause.
As fundraising professionals, it's our privilege to connect donors with meaningful opportunities to effect change. With careful planning and a thoughtful approach, your end-of-year appeals can not only meet your financial needs but also inspire a community of giving that extends well into the future.