The end of the year is quickly approaching and now that we are officially in November, it’s time to start taking a look at your year-end fundraising campaigns. Historically, December is the biggest month for nonprofit giving. Between people being in the holiday spirit and looming U.S. tax deadlines, giving tends to go up at this time of year. By planning out your year-end fundraising campaigns in advance, you can increase your chances for meeting your fundraising goals and ensure that you have enough funds to continue running your organization for the next year.
What is a Year-End Fundraising Campaign?
Before you can even begin planning your year-end fundraising campaign, you need to understand what a year-end campaign is and its purpose. A Year-End Fundraising Campaign (also known as an End of Year Campaign or Holiday Campaign) is – simply put – a coordinated multi-appeal fundraising campaign designed to capitalize on the end of the year giving cycles. Just like any successful fundraising campaign, your year-end campaign must have a thoroughly developed plan and include all groups and departments across your organization. Don’t expect to send out one email and have donations come flooding into your nonprofit organization. A successful year-end fundraising campaign will have multiple touch points across a set series of time in order to interest and fully engage your supporters. This can be done through email alone; however, it is ideal to coordinate it into your overall marketing efforts, including event fundraising, direct mail, and personal contacts.
Is a Year-End Campaign Necessary?
Studies have shown that nonprofit organizations can raise from 40% to 70% of their total donations during what is called the “end of the year” cycle, and up to 22% of total donations can come in during the last couple of days of the year. These numbers prove what many of us already know – giving increases toward the end of the year, and it’s important for your organization to fully capitalize on this opportunity.
If you struggle with what to say to your supporters and donors in email and marketing messages and are uncomfortable asking for money directly, the year-end campaign gives you a great reason for reaching out and even has a built-in “ask”. Share your year with your supporters – including the challenges and successes – and discuss what your organization is planning for the upcoming year or year. This will give you a natural tie in to ask or request support for your upcoming plans. Let them know that you will not be able to meet your goals without their support!
The year-end campaign is also a great opportunity to find and cultivate new donors. Many individuals are looking for causes or organizations to support at the end of the year or are at least open to responding to giving requests. Your year-end fundraising campaign is the perfect tool to use to engage these individuals and turn them into donors.
What Do I Need to Plan My Year-End Campaign?
While it may seem overwhelming at first, you really only need four tools to plan a solid year-end fundraising campaign: your website, an online donation form, email marketing, and fundraising software. Take a closer look at how these four tools can help your year-end campaign become a success:
- The Website
Your first and most important tool for raising funds is your website. Your website is where you will make your case for donations. It is generally the first point of contact for your potential donors, so make sure it is a good reflection of your organization. While it does not have to be the most advanced or flashiest website, it does need to make a strong case for why supporters should donate to your cause or organization.
- Online Donation Form
What’s the point of directing people to your website if you don’t have an easy way for them to support your cause once they get there? As we’ve discussed in the past, online fundraising is critical for raising support, especially at the end of the year. Your supporters are looking for an easy way to donate to your cause. If your system requires too much work, they may just walk away. Make sure that your donation system is as simple and easy to use as possible. You can do this through many fundraising software solutions, such as Abila Fundraising Online. Abila Fundraising Online allows you to build your own donation and registration forms and has many more features and benefits to help you raise more money online.
- Email Marketing
In today’s technology-driven world, there are many ways to market and spread the word about your organization. While social media and online ads are great tools, email marketing – when used well – still reigns as the most effective marketing method for most nonprofit organizations. This means that in order to raise those funds, you need to create well-developed email marketing campaigns to interest and engage your supporters.
- Fundraising Software
Last – but certainly not least – fundraising software is critical to your year-end campaign. It can help you not only plan your campaign, create email marketing campaigns and build online registration forms, but it can also help you track and measure your fundraising campaigns throughout the entire year.
Now that you know the basics of a year-end fundraising campaign, get to work planning your campaign! The end of the year is almost here and you don’t want to miss out on any opportunities for donations. For some best practices and year-end campaigning tips, download this “Year-End Campaign Planning Guide”. It’s filled with tips and tricks designed to get your year-end fundraising off to a successful start.