How to Win on Year-End Giving
With 30% of all charitable donations coming in December, nonprofits can’t afford not to invest in a year-end fundraising strategy. This article covers the top 10 different touchpoints on how to win year-end giving.
What’s a Year-End Giving Strategy?
Year-end giving strategy: a nonprofit’s roadmap to fundraising success during the holiday season.
Your year-end strategies should. . .
Be developed early on. Ideally, in early summer or fall. This will give your team plenty of time to set goals, workflows, calendars, messaging, and design.
Recruit and retain donors. Year-end strategies primarily revolve around donor retention, but it is also possible to gain new supporters through donor acquisition tactics. For example, a donor retention strategy includes mailing appeals to previous donors, whereas a donor acquisition strategy may be running a social media ad targeting new donors.
Foster a stronger sense of community among supporters. The holiday season is a great time to bring your supporters together. This increases donor loyalty and social media engagement.
Make donating as easy as possible. Ensure your online giving, QR codes, and Text-to-Give codes are working correctly and are readily available on all communication.
Hone in on mission-centered messaging. When crafting your year-end appeal and campaign, it allows your team to really focus on what matters most to your mission. Inspire donors with the incredible impact you’re making in people’s lives.
Involve some type of campaign or event to build momentum. Having a virtual event can be an exciting format for boosting engagement throughout your year-end campaign.
Be authentic and creative to your organization. Don’t fall for the same old cookie-cutter year-end traditions! Each year, try integrating newer and better plans into your year-end strategy.
Remind donors why they love you. To avoid causing donor fatigue, think of ways to leave your donors feeling reinvigorated in their relationship with your nonprofit this giving season. Break up “asks” with messages of thanks, stories of inspirations, and reasons to smile.
Make sense with everything else your fundraising team does throughout the year. If your year-end strategy is an entirely different tone than everything else your development team is doing throughout the calendar year, you may want to rethink your strategy. Donors shouldn’t sense an abrupt shift in communication at year-end.
10 Touchpoints to Win Year-End Giving
Without further ado, here are the top 10 touch points nonprofits should incorporate to win year-end giving.
Your homepage and donate page should have a “donate now” button. Your messaging and visuals should be consistent with your year-end appeal or campaign.
2. Social Media
Use social media to share compelling pictures, videos, and stories that inspire supporters to donate online. Invite supporters to re-share posts to help spread awareness.
You can use text messaging to share stories that elaborate on your year-end campaign theme. Don’t forget to include links for supporters to donate online! Text is also an excellent channel to cut through the noise of Giving Tuesday and reach more donors.
What’s most exciting about email is that you can segment messages to different types of donors: engaged, lapsed, board members, staff, alumni, and more. Of course, you can also do this with text messages and direct mail.
However, the advantage of email is that you can test what messages are most effective (i.e., a/b testing). By keeping track of who’s donated so far, you can also stop sending appeals to them, preventing donor burnout.
5. Direct Mail
Sending a direct mail appeal may sound outdated, but this is where many nonprofits still raise the most during the holiday season. Pro tip: include a personal note with handwritten P.S.’ for major donors.
6. Phone and Zoom calls
If you can’t physically meet 1:1 with major donors this year, try phone or Zoom calls. A personal touch is critical to continuing to build rapport with mid and major donors. Consider reaching out 1-2 weeks after your direct mail and email campaigns land as a follow-up.
7. Live events
Consider a live event this holiday season, such as a Peer-to-Peer for Giving Tuesday. This is a great way to rally support among supporters and build traction on social media.
The beginning of November is the perfect time to express appreciation for your supporters. Recruit your staff and volunteers to take a list of emails or phone numbers to give thanks to supporters simply. Set up a Zoom room for one night only so it feels like you’re all in it together, and let the fun begin!
9. Matching gifts
If you can find someone to match year-end gifts for your annual appeal and Giving Tuesday, you will be up for a more successful holiday giving season. Donors are more eager to give if they can make twice the impact.
10. Corporate gifts
Speaking of matching gifts, don’t forget about corporate partners. Many companies participate in charitable giving around the holidays. Instead of asking companies to sponsor yet another event, meet with them and see what type of giving would be most valuable to them. For example, they may be willing to participate in a matching gift, Peer-to-Peer campaign, or day of volunteering.
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