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

Write Choice Marketing – Helping nonprofits maximize donations.

The year-end season is a powerhouse for raising the bulk of your nonprofit’s funds. Find out how you can reach your year-end fundraising goals by utilizing the useful information in Year-End Fundraising Strategies Tools & Tips: Everything You Need to Know.

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

This four-step strategy will help you reach your year-end fundraising goals utilizing segmentation and targeted year-end messaging in your email and direct mail appeals.

Four-step strategy to help you reach your year-end fundraising goals.

The Four-Step Process

Approximately 31% of all annual giving occurs in December.

1st Step – Segment Your Donor Database

Year-End Fundraising Strategies: Everything You Need to Know

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

2nd Step – Message by Segment

When messaging becomes more compelling, the donor will give.

Create Messaging by Segment

Current Donor Messaging

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 of someone or something helped and the donor’s role in that accomplishment.

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 that problem. Read Storytelling for Effective Fundraising for valuable tools and tips for writing copy that gets response.

Messaging 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.

Lapsed Donor Messaging

Lapsed donors need to know the tangible impact of their donation. 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

Year-End Fundraising Strategies: Everything You Need to Know

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, what problem will they help 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 make a contribution.

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 Email Appeal

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

Holiday Card E-Appeal

Send your donors a holiday E-card 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, 30 and 31st

The 29th, 30th, and 31st of December account for 11% of the year’s total donations, so don’t skip sending donors emails on these days.

Yes, it might seem last minute to send an email on December 31. 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, they are strong motivators for donors who may be procrastinators.

4th Step – Create a Direct Mail Package

Year-End Fundraising Strategies: Everything You Need to Know

Send a year-end direct mail appeal to donors toward the mid to later part of December. It can be a 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 reply envelope in every direct mail appeal.

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.

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 in your year-end campaign. Now is not only the time to implement your year-end strategy, but it is the time 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.

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.

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.

Do you have year-end ideas you’d like to share our followers? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and share and tag us with your ideas or questions.

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