Did you know that charitable gifts made in the final days of the year may generate up to 50 percent of an organization’s annual donations? Year-end gifts are made for several reasons including the last chance in the year for an income tax deduction. They are charitable holiday gift tributes made in the name of a loved one. And because charitable organizations so wonderfully make us aware of their needs during this time.
That’s why it’s so important to consider the significance of your year-end and holiday season fundraising campaign in all of its aspects. Question if your non-profit’s fundraising strategies are stale, or if you are grabbing the attention of your audience. Pay attention to the look and feel of your holiday fundraising theme in branding your nonprofit with your year-end appeal, social media or other digital marketing materials and your donation website. Call special attention to this important fundraising campaign with its own colors and graphics.
Your message and how you address your donors and potential supports is key to your year-end fundraising appeal success. How donors feel about your approach is everything when they have so many choices of organizations and events to support during the holiday season. Find our 9 tips that celebrate a most successful year end giving campaign below.
1. Ask for More
Unless you ask for more with a strong year-end appeal, donors are likely to give the same amount each year. Whether it is by email, in person at a holiday or fundraising event or on the phone, always begin your ask with thanks. Before you ask for a larger charitable gift this year, let supporters know how their past donation was used, and invite them to visit your programs or become a volunteer.
Donors will feel rewarded by giving you what you ask for during a fundraising campaign. Give them the opportunity to work with you as opposed to treating them like a generic donor. If you say what you need from them and they give it, there is a reward involved for you both creating a bond. A relationship is started which opens the door to greater participation in your organization’s nonprofit fundraising and participation throughout the year.
2. Speak to Donors
Donors like you are magic words to donors. Speak to donors directly by using the word ‘you’. Give them credit directly for what they make possible through donations and year-end gifts. Remind them of your gratitude for last years’ gift. Thank potential donors in advance.
Speak to donors about one problem they can fix through their donation specifically. If you broadly speak of finding a cure for a disease or ending homelessness, donors tend to feel it is more than they can do. They are more likely to set down your appeal or walk away from your donation website. Yet if you tell them what a gift of $1,000 dollars will do for a family in your community, donors are more likely to feel rewarded and donate.
3. Keep Hope Alive
Keep your audience attentive by portraying your cause in a creative context, unveiling a new program or a dazzling result due to your work. Let your donors know know their contributions have greater results than anticipated. Keep them tuned into the hope for something more than what you’ve already promised. Giving Tuesday campaigns can offer a platform to achieve this.
4. Think Matching Gifts
Donors are empowered by matching gift opportunities. They, of course, feel their year-end gift has a greater impact if it is matched.
Finding matching opportunities with current donors and board members can often be accomplished, and best pursued in person. It is best not to rely on mailing lists, online fundraising or social media in pursuing major gifts such as matching. Look closer to home for matching donors as opposed to relying on large corporations.
If two or three donors match donations for just one day this creates tremendous opportunity. Feature these champions throughout your fundraising campaign in emails, on your donation website and social media pages.
5. Create Fundraising Videos
Storytelling is the force behind successful fundraising videos, as donors relate to a hero. Tell a story about a donor or a volunteer – make donors a part of the story. If your fundraising videos are about facts, donors statistically give less. If your fundraising videos are about people and matters of the heart, your year-end or holiday fundraising campaign is likely to be more successful.
Adding images to your fundraising videos has an even greater affect. The pictures will stay in the minds of donors and accompany the story. Add an urgent deadline to your fundraising appeal. Tell them why time is of the essence, weather it is keeping your program open or providing a tax deduction.
6. Bring Fresh Content
Nonprofits relying on the same fundraising appeal or social media campaign year after year is boring for donors. Bring new fundraising appeals and digital marketing for nonprofits to wake up your audience. Staying in touch with current trends in your community and writing new stories will attract more donors and help with donor retention.
The opportunity social media platforms present are powerful, with each post being a venue for bonding with your donors. As such, social media appeals deserve the same attention as all other aspects of your fundraising campaign. Always include your donation website link in your posts. Post the fundraising letter you’re mailing here, asking for a charitable donation. New photos and language during each fundraising campaign is vital.
7. Mobile Optimized Year-End Giving is a Must
Year-end fundraising campaigns optimized for mobile giving will surely increase your charitable gifts. Mobile phones are the access point to your fundraising campaign forms for many donors. If they cannot easily read your year end fundraising letter or make a secure donation with a credit card, less are your chances for getting their donation.
Mobile giving allows you to reach constituents more frequently by engaging with them while they are on the go. Donors can check the status of their donations and engage on your social media pages during your year end fundraising appeal, all while waiting in line to buy presents.
8. Make the Most of Your Year-End Fundraising Letter
Create a year-end appeal letter for anyone and everyone associated with your charity or non-profit organization, but be sure to segment your letters. Groups to include on your mailing list for a year-end appeal may include: past and current donors and supporters, business sponsors, volunteers, staff, those effected by your organization, and any other individuals who have expressed interest in your charity or organization. Send a slightly different year-end letter to different groups. For example, past donors should receive a different letter than prospects or volunteers, as you’ll want to thank them (again) for their previous donations. It means a lot to remember they’ve contributed in the past and falls flat when new supporters are thanked before making an actual gift. Also, major donors need to be treated as such or they may turn into $50 donors.
You may also want to offer supporters the option of fundraising for your organization, as part of your holiday or annual campaign. Peer-to-peer fundraising is a nice option to create an even greater impact and lessens the financial burden on your donors. Setting up a crowdfunding website makes it easy for your supporters to create a personal fundraising page and solicit donations on your charity’s behalf.
We’ve made it easy for you by sharing an example of a year-end fundraising letter:
December 24, 2017 Rudolph Drive #1 Dear Ms. Crocker, Exciting things are happening at Bremer School! New records in year-end giving have been set this year with 32 of you, our incredible donors, becoming Champions of Bremer School. Champions are those recognized for giving charitable contributions of $10,000 or more. Since the campus’s founding, 360 of you have become Champions of Bremer School. The tremendous success of our crowdfunding event this past April raised $300,000 dollars towards our new science wing. Be a part of our Bremer School Walkathon in 2018. Become an event sponsor or create a team on our crowdfunding website to raise money for our innovative new language facility. We are grateful to those donors whose generosity this past fiscal year continues to renew the tradition of excellence at Bremer School. Philanthropic support is bringing to life our shared aspirations, whether through new facilities or expanding our programs and educational excellence. Become a fundraising leader of Bremer School today and donate now to support the education excellence we all so cherish. Sincerely, Charles Nottingham, Bremer School President
9. Fundraise Without Limits
You are certainly not limited to one year end fundraising letter. Send more than one fundraising letter during this special season of giving. Create a fundraising campaign that’s outside of the box and put your heart into it. It is a time donors are already filled with emotion, so tap into it. Use humor and be social on your social media pages. Gather your team in writing great stories and write as many chapters as you wish. Keep your donors excited to find out what happened in the next chapter, see the next matching gift opportunity and your latest video.
In closing, enjoy this special season of giving and joy and raise money for your important charitable cause. Create a fundraising campaign for year-end and holiday giving which exceeds your expectations. Think of your donors first, always, and thank them.