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7 Surefire Tips to Rock Your End-of-Year Fundraiser

Published by Salvador Briggman. Find him on Twitter.

With all the hustle and bustle associated with the holiday season, it can be easy to forget that it’s supposed to be a time of giving. However, while it might seem like we’ve forgotten the season’s charitable spirit, did you know that the month of December is the most generous time of the year for Americans?

Approximately 30% of all donations are made in the last month of the year. Don’t let this valuable time for giving pass your nonprofit by! Make an effort to strengthen your year-end fundraising strategy this holiday season by following these helpful fundraising ideas:

  1. Start planning well in advance.
  2. Kick off your campaign on #GivingTuesday.
  3. Leverage social media fundraising strategies.
  4. Show supporters their impact.
  5. Lean on your base.
  6. Hold fun year-end events.
  7. Make a New Year’s Eve ask.

Ready to boost your year-end fundraising efforts to the next level? Let’s explore these tips in some more detail!

1. Start planning well in advance.

Even though your year-end fundraiser will be, well, at the end of the year, that doesn’t mean that your nonprofit should leave planning this important campaign for the last minute.

In fact, your organization should start making plans for your year-end fundraiser as soon as you start drafting the year’s fundraising calendar. This doesn’t mean you need to iron out all the details months in advance, but your nonprofit should start setting dates around this time.

More important than getting ahead of the game, however, is making sure that your year-end fundraiser is thoughtfully crafted. Here are a few useful planning strategies for making sure your efforts don’t go to waste:

  • Identify your year-end goals. During this time of the year, you might engage with different donors than you typically encounter, raise larger amounts than your average gifts, or otherwise stray off the beaten path. Know before the fundraiser starts what your expectations are and what you’re looking to accomplish.
  • Segment your donors. Segment donors who have already given this year, those who donated around the holidays last year, and supporters who haven’t yet given to your organization. Use these donor segments to structure your communications strategy and shape the kinds of donation requests you extend to these individuals.
  • Connect with a corporate partner. Having a corporate sponsor for your year-end fundraising is a great way to help get the word out about your campaign as well as reach new supporters. Your partner could sponsor year-end events, offer challenge grants during this season, or simply give your organization a major gift.

When heading into year-end fundraising, it’s best to be prepared for whatever might come your way. Be sure to take the time to set the stage for this important fundraising push before it passes you by!

2. Kick off your campaign on #GivingTuesday.

#GivingTuesday takes place on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving each year. Created as a philanthropic response to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, kicking off your campaign on this day is a great way to get a head start on end-of-year fundraising.

On #GivingTuesday, your nonprofit can encourage supporters to start donating in the spirit of the holiday season. Largely powered by social media outreach, starting your year-end fundraising on this date is a simple and low-cost way to energize supporters.

Your nonprofit can jump start your campaign on #GivingTuesday by:

  • Joining in on the hashtag on social media.
  • Promoting the day with the help of your corporate partner.
  • Challenging crowdfunding donors to reach a fundraising benchmark on the holiday.

No matter how your nonprofit uses #GivingTuesday to your advantage, the momentum you gain by participating in this cyber holiday will help boost your efforts to the next level during this important fundraising season!

3. Leverage social media fundraising strategies.

While social fundraising strategies are a great way to fundraise throughout the year, they can be especially useful tools to help power your year-end fundraising efforts.

Especially due to the season’s emphasis on community, there’s no better way to connect with donors at this time of the year than by engaging with them on social media.

During your year-end fundraiser, consider some of these social fundraising strategies:

  • Crowdfunding. Through a crowdfunding campaign, your nonprofit can spread the word about your year-end fundraising throughout your supporters’ social networks. This is a great technique to get the word out quickly about your campaign, as well as a good way to keep up with your supporters throughout the season.
  • Peer-to-peer. With a peer-to-peer campaign, your supporters can spread the word about your organization much like with crowdfunding. An added bonus? Their friends and family may be more inclined to give since your supporters host their own donation page, bringing your nonprofit to a whole new network of potential donors.
  • Donation through social media pages. This remains true throughout the year, but your nonprofit should be sure to collect donations through social media pages like Facebook. This makes giving convenient for supporters who may only interact with your organization’s social media profiles and not your core website.

A strong social media strategy can help your online fundraising efforts throughout the year. However, during year-end fundraising these techniques can give your nonprofit the extra push it needs to engage with donors better than ever before.

Bonus! Want to learn more about crowdfunding from the experts? Check out MobileCause’s helpful infographic on all things crowdfunding to get up to speed.

4. Show supporters their impact.

During the holiday season, your supporters may be especially sentimental. For this reason, your year-end fundraiser should capitalize on this feeling by making an extra effort to share the impact of your organization with supporters.

One reliable way to show supporters the good your nonprofit can do? Sharing impact stories as part of your core communications strategy is a must.

During year-end fundraising, your team might tailor these stories to fit the holiday season. Additionally, be sure to make these stories visually compelling. This means your team should emphasize video storytelling, as well as feature high-quality photography throughout any written communications.

Another way to show your impact? Communicate clearly how gifts of varying dollar amounts will be used by your nonprofit. When donors can see just how far their gifts will go, they’ll be more likely to donate and more inclined to give generously.

5. Lean on your base of supporters.

Don’t forget to lean on your existing supporters during your year-end fundraising season! Even though these individuals may have already donated to your organization, that doesn’t mean that you can’t sway them to give again.

Your nonprofit can capitalize off of what you know through these existing donors’ histories with your organization to better strategize your donation requests.

Your nonprofit might reach out to:

  • Major donors. While it might seem risky to revisit some of your previous major donors, this segment of supporters are actually a great resource for year-end gifts. Because of their high giving capacity, it usually doesn’t hurt to extend another donation request.
  • Last year’s year-end givers. Your team shouldn’t forget about those who have already shown interest in year-end giving. Last year’s year-end givers are a reliable resource during this fundraising season, especially because they’ve proven they’re motivated to help out your nonprofit during this giving season.
  • Motivated volunteers. Previous donors aren’t the only supporters your nonprofit should lean on during year-end giving. Volunteers are some of the most likely candidates for donation and because you already have a relationship with them through their volunteer work, it’s easy to bridge the gap to make your ask.

It’s easy to get caught up with your year-end fundraiser and forget that your greatest resources are right under your nose. Always make an effort to circle back to your base of dedicated supporters as a part of your year-end fundraising strategy!

6. Hold fun year-end events.

Looking for a way to energize your supporters and motivate them to give to your organization?

An important part of any year-end fundraising campaign should be an emphasis on engaging your supporters with fun seasonal events.

The best way to strategize your year-end events is to be sure that they address potential donors at any stage in their relationship with your nonprofit. Here are a few of the variety of events your nonprofit can host to help support your year-end fundraising efforts:

  • Fundraising events. Traditional events like charity auctions, walkathons, galas, etc., are still great tools during your year-end fundraising push. Be sure to make the most of the festive spirit by adding a holiday twist to these gatherings!
  • Stewardship events. During the holiday season, don’t forget to hold regular donor stewardship events for your prospects. By showing these supporters some extra love at this time of the year, these individuals are more likely to give to your end-of-year fundraiser.
  • Volunteering events. By inviting supporters to volunteer, you further engage people who already have a history with your organization as well as newcomers who are excited to help your cause. Using this event as a jumping off point, you can easily steer these individuals toward giving.

Events should be built into your fundraising calendar throughout the year. However, during your end-of-year push these events can make the difference between an interested prospect and a successful donor, so it’s doubly important not to neglect this strategy!

Bonus! Want to learn more about putting on successful fundraising events year-round? Be sure to visit MobileCause’s awesome list of over 70 engaging nonprofit fundraising event ideas that can take your fundraiser to the next level.

7. Make a New Year’s Eve ask.

Your nonprofit can close out your year-end fundraising by making a final push at the literal end of the year: New Year’s Eve!

More donors give on New Year’s Eve than on any other day of the year, so it’s the perfect time to encourage your supporters to give.

To help make this final appeal to donors, your nonprofit should send out targeted appeals on multiple lines of communication (email, SMS, direct mail, etc.). Start reminding supporters a week or so in advance of this final year-end giving opportunity and ramp up these reminders as the date approaches.

Additionally, when making this last-minute ask, be sure to adjust your message based the donation histories of your various donor segments. For example, if they’ve already given this year, thank them for their gift and share how their continued support will help your organization.

Your donors are at their most generous during the holiday season, so why would you let their giving potential slip by? With these tips on hand, your nonprofit is sure to rock this winter’s year-end fundraiser!

About the Author

Steve Page is a blogger, marketer, webmaster for MobileCause, the world’s leading mobile and online fundraising platform.

MobileCause helps organizations reach their goals with a full suite of mobile-friendly solutions that allow donors to connect and give to your cause from any device. When he’s not working at MobileCause, Steve can usually be found helping organizations with their websites, learning the latest marketing trends or working on his golf game.

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