How to Maximize Year-End Giving —Tools & Tips

Strategies to Maximize Year-End Giving

Studies show that people give more to charities at the end of the year. The spirit of generosity, lucrative tax deductions, and a strong desire to help others during the holidays are the main motivating factors. Don’t miss this prime opportunity to bring in much-needed funds for your organization.

Year-End Fundraising Strategies Tools & Tips: Everything You Need to Know

The year-end season is a powerhouse for raising the bulk of your nonprofit’s funds. Find out how to maximize year-end giving with these tools and tips that provide a four-step strategy for helping you reach your year-end fundraising goals.

Approximately 31% of all annual giving occurs in December. There are two motivating factors driving donors to contribute at the year’s-end. They are: a last chance to make a tax-deductible donation and the donors’ generous desire to help others during the holidays.

Four-Step Strategy to Help you Reach Your Year-End Fundraising Goals

1st Step: Segment Your Donor Database

Segment your email and direct mail donors by: current donors, last year’s donors, and lapsed donors.

2nd Step: Message by Segment

When messaging is compelling, the donor is more likely to give.

Message for Current Donors

Current donors are the heroes of your organization. They are the ones who make impossible situations possible. Recognize and thank them. Provide heartwarming success stories regarding donors’ roles in specific accomplishments that helped your organization.

“Recognizing” and “thanking” are the keywords that resonate with current donors. While they are strong motivators towards getting current donors to give again, be sure to include an ongoing problem and how they can help solve it.

Message for Last Year’s Donors

Motivate last year’s donors to give again. Make them feel as if they belong and that they are a part of your organization’s family. Reinforce the good decision they made when they donated, even if it was over a year ago.

“Reinforcement” and “belonging” are the keywords that resonate with last year’s donors. Through a heartfelt story, remind donors of the good their donation accomplished. Tell them why another donation is needed. Invite them to join the other like-minded donors in your organization who continue to make a difference.

They want to be a part of something bigger than themselves, so make them feel like they belong.

Message for Lapsed Donors                                                  

Lapsed donors (any donor who you have not heard from in over a year) need to know the tangible impact of their donations. Show them how their gifts will be used. Consider using a gift-ask that includes not only a monetary amount but also a description as to how that amount of money will be used. Gift-asks such as “$25 feeds a hungry dog”, “$50 provides veterinary care,” etc., motivate lapsed donors to contribute.

“Tangible” and “impact” are the keywords to focus on when writing an appeal to lapsed donors.

Depending upon the timing of each of these messages, they can be repurposed simply by utilizing them a second time in different channels.

3rd Step: Create a Series of Email Appeals

The best time of the year for year-end giving starts with the Thanksgiving holiday season. Craft a year-end email appeal series consisting of the following:

Thanksgiving Email                                                                                            

Donors want to know you’re thankful for them and why. Let them know why their donations are needed during this holiday of giving.

Year-End Kick-Off Email Announcement                                                            

Kick off the official start of your year-end campaign with an email announcement. Ask donors for a year-end gift in this email. Provide your donors with a clear and concise call to action and motivate them to give to your year-end goals.

Tell donors what they will accomplish and what problem they will help to solve, and be sure to include a deadline, giving added urgency to the appeal.


Reinforce your brand and your message by providing several E-holiday card designs that donors can use to send to their friends and family via email. A campaign-donation landing page should accompany each card, so that both the sender and receiver can contribute.

This is a very effective way to connect with current and potential new supporters, to spread the message of the good work that you do, and to potentially receive donations from both the sender and receiver.

Video E-Mail Appeal                                                                          

Reinforce the email kick-off announcement, (see kick-off email announcement above), by sending a video.

Holiday Card E-Appeal                                                              

Send your donors holiday E-cards, thanking them for their past support and reminding them of the year-end campaign. Be sure to include a call to action and a reason they should continue their support.

Last Chance Email Appeals on December 29th, 30th and 31st                                  

The 29th, 30th, and 31st of December account for 11% of the year’s total donations, so be particularly vigilant about sending donors emails on these days.

Keep in mind, approximately 31% of all annual giving occurs in December.

Yes, it might seem last minute to send an email on December 31st. However, sending donors a reminder that this is their last chance to give this year will prove to be highly effective. Combined with a strong call to action and the opportunity to remind them about a year-end tax deduction, this is a strong motivator for any donors who tend to procrastinate.

4th Step: Create a Direct Mail Package                                                             

Send a year-end direct mail appeal to donors toward the mid to later part of December. This can be as simple as a letter appeal or a holiday card. Either way, include a thank-you message, highlight the problem you’re looking to solve, and a way for the donor to solve the problem—more donations, of course! Include a donation form and a reply envelope in every direct mail appeal.

End of Year Fundraising Ideas                                                                         

Don’t let the end of the year be the only time you communicate with your donors. Direct mail appeals, emails, videos, and social media posts should all be a part of your sustainer strategy all year long, as well as your year-end giving strategy. Now is not only the time to implement your year-end strategy, but also to start planning for next year.

The end of the year will inevitably be busy with the holiday rush and other year-end tasks to complete. The idea of fitting in one more fundraising email or tweaking your existing direct mail package may not be at the top of your to-do list at this moment.

“How to Maximize Year-End Giving—Tools & Tips” was written to provide you with strategies to create a successful year-end campaign. However, if you haven’t yet formulated your year-end strategy or written your copy, or if you’ve already scheduled your annual year-end fundraising push and want to start planning for next year, contact Write Choice Marketing. Don’t miss this prime opportunity to bring in much-needed funds for your organization.

P.S. Don’t forget about Giving Tuesday during the first week of December. Here are 16 Giving Tuesday Ideas and Tips to help you create a results-worthy #GivingTuesday strategy.

Write Choice Marketing—Helping nonprofits maximize donations through compelling copy, engaging content, and donor responsive strategies that get results.

If you found this post useful, please consider sharing it with others! Thank you!

Leave a Comment