The holidays and end-of-the-year events will be here before you know it.
As a nonprofit, the next few months are a prime opportunity to set your organization up for success to hit your year-end fundraising goals by building and following a solid year-end fundraising marketing plan.
This year, Giving Tuesday is November 29, 2022. However, it’s estimated that nearly one-third of annual giving occurs in December, and 12% of that happens in the last three days of the year.
People like to show support at the end of the year because they:
- Feel happier when helping others in need around the holidays
- Want to feel like they are making a difference
- Like to take advantage of tax deductions
- Want to be connected to something positive
While there are many other charities and organizations vying for attention, you need to stay active and in constant communication with current and potential donors. Make sure you’re getting their attention with your fundraising marketing campaigns, so your organization is top of mind when they’re ready to donate.
Take time now to create a fundraising marketing plan that optimizes your year-end results. Check out these six steps to help you hit your fundraising goals.
1. Pick a goal
Choose one major goal to focus on over the next two months.
Whether it’s beating last year’s annual fundraising numbers, building a new and improved annual appeal campaign, or throwing the biggest year-end fundraising event in the history of your organization, having one goal to drive towards will help you maintain focus during the busiest time of the year.
Be as specific as possible, with a set donation goal and deadline so you can measure progress.
2. Segment your audience
Every one of your supporters is different, and they’ll respond much better to a more personalized message each time you communicate with them. They’ll be more likely to take action and donate, volunteer, or attend your event.
One of the most important tactics to apply when communicating with a large group of people is to segment your audience into smaller groups. This way, you always send the right message to the right people.
Here are some ways you can segment your audience:
- Average gift size
- Level of supporter (VIP donors, business sponsors, and volunteers)
- Date of the last gift
- First-time donors
3. Craft your outreach messages
Once you have your segments established, you’re ready to craft a message that’s specific to each audience. Entice them to take action to support your cause. Check out these tips on crafting your message:
- Keep your message short and to the point. Nonprofit associations typically see the highest click rates with emails of 20 lines of text.
- Reference past involvement and encourage them to up their donation.
- When possible, add a video to show who is being helped and why your message matters).
- Use individual stories and compelling examples of how their donation makes an impact.
- Make it about them and how they’ll make a difference — use “you” and “your.”
4. Schedule & time your communications
Choose exactly when and where you’ll be communicating with your supporters. It’s best to use a variety of different channels so you can reach as many potential donors as possible.
You’ll be able to reach people directly in their inbox with a targeted message that encourages them to take action. Plus, donation blocks and buttons make it extremely easy for your supporters to donate or register right from your email marketing campaign.
Many organizations will be vying for attention in the inbox, so plan to send at least every two weeks.
Social media channels are a great way to boost the visibility of your emails and your organization as a whole. Social media streams move fast. Post multiple times a day to increase the chances of people seeing your post.
TIP: For email and social communications, use your reporting information to determine the best time to send and post for your organization.
SMS text messages
While relatively new for nonprofits, SMS can help you boost your year-end fundraising efforts.
Use SMS for nonprofits to improve attendance at your year-end fundraising event by sending reminders for them to mark the date on their calendar, sending periodic “count-downs,” and providing last-minute information such as the best place to park.
You can also use text message marketing to send donation confirmations, letting your donors know you received their funds right away — just don’t forget to follow up with a heartfelt thank-you email.
Don’t forget about direct mail. Connect with those who may not be on social media or on your organization’s email list.
Remember, the holidays are a busy time of year for your supporters too. Send a series of three messages for your limited-time year-end campaign. This reminds people of your goal and what they can do to help your organization.
Message 1 is an announcement. Let them know what you’re trying to accomplish and the end date of your campaign.
Message 2 is a reminder about a week before the campaign ends.
Message 3 is the last-chance reminder a day or two before the fundraising campaign ends. Let them know that time is running out to make a difference.
5. Encourage sharing
People enjoy the feeling of helping a cause, and sharing is another way they can help! Social media makes this easier than ever because they can share a post with all of their friends and followers.
For those on your email list, insert social sharing buttons so they can share your email directly on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Just be sure you’re asking them to share the information. You might say something such as “Share this email to help us spread the word!” or “Share this post with your friends to help us meet our goal of $50,000 before the end of the year!”
Afterward, it’s important to send a “thank you” message that confirms their donation was received, but it’s important to take that a step further.
According to MobileCause, the number one reason donors don’t give again is that they weren’t notified of the impact of their donation.
Let them know where the funds are going and how exactly how they have impacted your cause.
Continue to keep them updated throughout the year, so your organization stays top of mind the next time you’re running a fundraising campaign.
How to make the most of year-end donors
Considering all of the time, effort, and money you will put into your year-end fundraising marketing campaigns, take a moment to ensure that your organization gets the most out of your year-end donors by assessing these three key elements of your strategy:
Showcase recurring giving options
Whenever you send a fundraising appeal, always include the option to make a recurring gift. Better yet, use this as a focal piece in your year-end campaign.
Instead of just asking supporters to give one year-end gift, urge them to sign up to give every month for the next year. This is a win-win situation for everyone involved — donors can give more over time, and you have a steady stream of dependable funds. Attach giving levels, special perks, and impact descriptions to monthly gift tiers so that you make recurring giving an attractive option.
Enable and encourage social sharing
Make it easy for your donors to share your message and fundraise on your behalf by giving them tools to share your message via social media.
Include social sharing buttons on your donation confirmation and thank you pages, in your thank you letters, and in follow-up emails.
Provide pre-written messages so your donors can easily spread the word. Since enthusiastic supporters are often your best spokespeople, let their passion create a wave of donations by teaching them how to set up a fundraising campaign with a peer-to-peer fundraising tool, such as CrowdRise/GoFundMe.
Have a solid donor-stewardship plan
Turn first-time or casual givers into repeat donors by sending them a warm, timely, thank-you letter.
Then, keep them up to date on the impact of their donation. Stay in touch so they feel like a true part of your community and can relive the helper’s high over and over again. When donors know their gift was appreciated and made a difference, they’ll be more likely to give again. Of course, these efforts will also help you keep your current, loyal donors devoted for years to come.
Set your nonprofit up for fundraising success!
These six steps will keep your fundraising marketing communications focused and progressing through the end of the year.
Make sure you don’t miss the opportunity to stand out and reach your organization’s goals. Take the necessary steps to reach new donors and ensure your end-of-year giving campaign is a success.
TIP: To get the most out of your fundraising marketing efforts, use nonprofit storytelling to show your donors how their contributions impact your nonprofit, help the community, and aid your mission.
Bonus: 2023 Non-profit Year-end Marketing Checklist
Get more donations this giving season by using this Non-profit Year-end Marketing Checklist and finish the end of the year strong.