9 tips to spice up your year-end giving campaign

Fundraising Campaign Types November 16, 2017 By Kevin Wolfe

Does your year-end giving campaign need a refresh? Here are nine ways to spice things up:

  1. Make your ask fact-based. We often make the year-end ask purely on an emotional plea. But today’s donors think of their donation more as an investment in good. In your ask, review this year’s success, state your objectives for 2018, tell what their donation will buy and quote those people that your organization has helped.
  2. Encourage matching gifts. Sometimes these get overlooked in year-end giving. Your software should have some accommodation for matching-gifts. This can double the dollars received from everyone whose company offers this. It’s also useful to set up matching grants from your big donors and corporate partners.
  3. Segment your supporters. Use your software’s reporting to group key donors, event participants, those who donated last December, etc. Base your segmentation on factors you can best address in messaging. 
  4. Personalize your message. Use placeholders in your email to let supporters know you appreciate their personal contribution. Address each supporter by name, include the how much they fundraised or gave this year and tell what that money accomplished. On social media, thank individuals who give to your year-end campaign. You can also send a personalized 30-second video to your most successful event participants. And it’s definitely worth making a call now to big donors who might need to make a substantial donation before year’s end. The personal touch can be very powerful in getting  that final donation of the year.
  5. Countdown to tax exemption. Starting Tuesday, December 26th, promote “Only five more days to make a tax deduction before New Year.” These five days can bring in a lot of donations and the countdown helps create immediacy.
  6. Livestream on New Year's Eve. Every hour on December  31, go live for a five-minute broadcast. Have your staff and those who have benefitted from your organization talk about the success of your mission this year. Since most people are off work that day, you'll attract a larger audience. Also, note that donations must be made, received or postmarked before midnight that day to be a 2017 tax-deductible donation. 
  7. Don’t call it a year-end campaign. Instead make it about a specific project that you need money for, like building a home for somone in need or  feeding a drought-stricken village for a year. The more specific and immediate the need, the better the resonse you’ll get.
  8. Have staff start the momentum for giving. Ask everyone who works for your nonprofit to give a $25 or $50 donation to kickstart the campaign. When your staff says “I gave” in the campaign emails they send out and in their social media posts, it creates a group of people doing good that supporters will want to be part of.
  9. Get donors to tell “why I give.” When supporters do this simple form of storytelling they get a sense of pride, as well as a deeper commitment. Ask your donors to create a short, heartfelt video on their phone that tells their personal reasons for giving. Then add these on your year-end campaign landing page, link to them in your email ask and post them on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. The most engaging story about your nonprofit is the one a supporter shares with their friends and family.

More than 1/3 of all donation dollars are given between Thanksgiving and December 31. This shows how much impact a well-run year-end campaign can have on your total revenue.

Needs some ideas for a unique year-end campaign? Check out this article.

This article was updated from 2014.