The Key to Year-End Campaigns: Start Early and E-mail Often

Fundraising Success reminds us between 35 percent to 42 percent of online giving happens in November and December each year. So if you want to capitalize on final quarter giving, treat your End of Year Campaigns with special care.

When the ALS Association focused on their year-end appeal, their online donations increased by 47% during the month of December from the previous year. What’s more, they doubled the total income raised over prior years! How did they do it? By strategizing their online communications during the month of December, capitalizing on tax-benefits.

Other messages organizations can include in their e-mails are year end highlights, recapping accomplishments, holiday donations and gift giving.

In their webinar, “Plan Smart: Don’t Leave Your End of Year Campaigns to Chance”, Convio presents six best practices for year-end appeals:

  1. Plan — August
    Review campaign communications, both online and offline. Schedule dates and where you should promote your events (i.e. Facebook, direct emailing, holiday greeting card).
  2. Cultivate — September
    Build rapport with your constituents, connecting them to your cause. Engage donors through reports, surveys, appreciation letters, etc., to hold on to their commitment before you begin the year-end appeal.
  3. Lock down — October
    Focus on finalizing schedules, copy and campaign details.
  4. Kick-off — November
    Send a warm “thank you” message at Thanksgiving recapping the year’s accomplishments. Include an emotionally resonating and memorable story. Start e-mailing donation ask after Thanksgiving. Run Google ads and activate donations forms the week before Thanksgiving.
  5. Ask — November to December
    Multiple messages have power. Use a variety of themes in your messages such as tax-deductible, stories, holiday, alternative giving, etc.
  6. Analyze — January
    Communicate with your supporters. Don’t lose them after the campaign drive. Analyze your results to improve the drive for next year.

The most important thing to understand is that successful year-end campaigns are gradual and cumulative, not one-shot processes. Your results will reflect your preparation. Repetition is paramount in getting your message read and then acted upon during the busy holiday season.

For more details on the six best practices for year-end appeals, see the original article, Tips for End-of-Year Campaign Success.