It’s the end of the year, which means gathering with friends and family, celebrating the holidays, and—yes—fundraising. According to Double the Donation, 30% of all annual fundraising happens during the month of December. This makes the last four weeks of the year crucial for next year’s success, but that pressure can be overwhelming. How do you know even know where to begin? With limited time and capacity, what’s most important to focus on? What’s the best way to demonstrate all that you’ve accomplished this year?
In ioby’s Comprehensive Guide to End-of-Year Fundraising, we’ve compiled a checklist of everything you need to make the most of this month. With decades of combined experience, our coaches help ioby leaders get their projects funded year round. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate! We’re here to help you spark transformation (and fundraise) in December and beyond.
Say Thank You!
The first step to having a successful end-of-year campaign is to emphasize donor engagement. As we outline in ioby’s Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Funds & Building a Network of Donors You Love￼, donor engagement refers to “the dynamic ways you keep financial supporters engaged over time.” One of the keys ways of doing this is by saying thank you—and there is no better time to do so than the month of December.
If possible, call or write a hand-written note outlining what you were able to accomplish with their donation. Be as specific possible: were you able to build a new slide at the local park or invest in new stoplights as a result of their support? If so, let them know! This is a crucial time to connect what they have helped you accomplish with what an additional donation could make possible. Invite them into your vision for your community as we head into the New Year. As Toni Cade Bambara says, “make the revolution irresistible!”
Develop an End-of-Year Giving Campaign
This should start from a place of authenticity: What amount would help you feel confident, stable, and empowered heading into the new year? That could range from $500 to $500,000. What matters most is that you can explain this number to yourself and your donors as clearly as possible.
Once you have this number, there are several forms an end-of-year giving campaign can take. Perhaps you’ve already secured a large donation and you want to run a “match campaign,” by encouraging your community to raise the same amount of money. It’s most important that you have a clear number that can be shared through current donors, social media, and other communications channels like an organizational newsletter.
Share Your Story
As part of your end-of-year-campaign, it’s essential to craft a compelling story about what you’ve accomplished this year. In 3-4 points, what were the goals you had going into 2023? How did you meet—or even exceed—those goals? Do you have images, compelling quotes, or data to support those claims? People are more likely to support an organization that has a demonstrated track record of success, and remember, it’s okay if your plans changed throughout the year! The goal isn’t to have an airtight plan—it’s to have a compelling story.
Once you have this content, work with a writer or graphic designer to design compelling graphics for social media or newsletters. Post as often as possible without overwhelming yourself! And remember to connect it back to your year-end giving campaign goal so you can measure success.
Dive Into Your Data
As we mentioned in our guide to donor engagement, data is your friend! If you use a spreadsheet or customer-relationship-management tool like Salesforce, now is the time to dig into those numbers and get specific with your outreach.
First, review who donated during this time last year. They might be inspired to give and just haven’t heard from you yet. There are so many organizations and causes to give to: people might be waiting for a personal touch before they decide!
This is also an important to review who hasn’t yet given this year. If someone gave consistently in previous years but hasn’t yet done so, this is a good time to reach out with a quick call or well-written email. Explain what you have been able to accomplish this year (with their support!) and what an additional donation might help you do.
Lean On Your Network
Your existing network is a valuable asset during a year-end fundraising. Consider neighbors, volunteers and—if you are incorporated as a nonprofit—board members. Encourage them to share your fundraising messages on their social media platforms, host virtual events, or even organize small gatherings to discuss your organization’s impact. Personal endorsements and shared experiences can significantly amplify your message, reaching a broader audience and inspiring trust in potential donors.
Remember, your board and community members are not just voices of advice; they are the most powerful advocates for your cause. Engaging them in year-end fundraising efforts can significantly amplify your reach and impact.
Host a Virtual Gala or Celebration
Finally, if you have the capacity, hosting an in person or online event can be a powerful way to get your fundraising call out to the public. Selling virtual tickets or a donation amount for attendance can contribute to your overall end-of-year goal. And remember, it doesn’t have to be complicated! The event could be as simple as a roundtable with community stakeholders or a panel discussion. But remember to provide a seamless online donation process during the event, making it easy for attendees to contribute and be part of the festive support for your cause.
As the year draws to a close, navigating the landscape of year-end fundraising is essential. In ioby’s Comprehensive Guide to End-of-Year Fundraising, we’ve outlined key strategies to optimize your efforts. Remember, the month of December is not just about fundraising; it’s an opportunity to engage, inspire, and lay the groundwork for a successful year ahead and celebrate all the wins you have thus far! Utilize these strategies and empower your organization to make a lasting impact.
- Donor Box provides a step-by-step guide with tips, strategies, and resources to help nonprofits maximize their fundraising efforts during the crucial year-end period. The guide covers storytelling, donor engagement, and leveraging technology.
- Bloomerang’s comprehensive guide provides data and insights into why year-end fundraising campaigns matter so much. They also provide specific tools to analyze last year’s fundraising success to help you determine thie December’s strategy.
- ioby’s Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Funds & Building a Network of Donors You Love￼ outlines everything you need to know to develop a sustained base of trusted donors. This will help you during the month of December and into the New Year. (Remember: all those people who give at the end of the year will become valued donors in the future, too!)
ioby is a national crowdfunding nonprofit, but we’re much more than that. We help connect leaders (like you!) with one-on-one coaching and support to raise the money they need from their communities to make our neighborhoods safer, greener, more livable, and more fun.
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