5 Year-End Fundraising Ideas
October 1st is around the corner so now is the time to begin thinking seriously about your nonprofit’s year-end fundraising strategies.
Arguably one of the most competitive fundraising periods of the year, the last quarter is when creation of your most compelling appeal is vital.
Express exactly why you need help NOW more than ever before:
- Tell a story The key to raising money is connecting with donors. Make your year-end appeal about real people and real results.Emotional appeals may be unpopular at other times of the year, but emotions lead to action at year-end. Create connections with donors by awakening their emotions about how urgent the need is through a brief narrative.
Share how their gift will make a difference not only for your organization but in the life of someone your work will touch.
- Set specific goals Donors want to know that their gift will lead to tangible results. That is why sharing how much money you’ll need in order to create, save, or serve a specific goal is so vital.Your goal needs to reach out and grab a donor’s attention, so be sure to do more than simply state the obvious (“We need money to save more pet iguanas from extinction”).
- Instead tell them how many domesticated iguanas you’ll save and how you’ll do it. Just as important is the need to give specific options to donors. Express what specific dollar amounts donated can do for those you serve (“$100 will buy ten heat lamps to keep 5 iguanas warm this winter”).
- Make your appeal appealing Year-end appeals are like resumes, these brief documents need to pass the 60-second test!Make your appeal readable to someone who may only be skimming its contents by using white space, headings, short sentences, short paragraphs, action verbs, etc. This is achievable even for the nonprofit on a shoestring budget that can’t afford fancy colored paper or expensive graphic design artistry.
- Ask Again Repeat your appeal in email, social media, and on your nonprofit’s website.The latter is particularly important because although donors may receive your year-end appeal in the mail many people are most likely to make their gift online. The message should be consistent: Every outlet should be making the same ask.
- Follow up Although most year-end appeals find their way into mailboxes in the weeks before and after Thanksgiving, there is still a little over a month until December 31.That’s over 30 days for a donor to forget a gift they really wanted to make!
- Do what it takes to get results by following up with social media messages, emails, phone calls. Your nonprofit should even consider another intense snail mail or email effort the week between Christmas and New Years when online gifts traditionally spike. Even if your organization changes up the presentation, keep the message consistent for optimal success.
Adrienne Lewis-Wagner is a 13-year veteran freelancer and fund development consultant living in Michigan. Her blog The Prospect can be found at
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