Is Your Year-End Appeal Ready?

900 500 Gabby Wallin

Written by Christine Rahill, Impact Coach and Nonprofit Consultant

The year is almost over – do you have your year-end giving appeal strategy planned? It’s not too late to get a jump on your holiday appeal. Here are seven steps that will lead you to a successful year-end campaign.

  1. Gather stories of impact: Donors want to make a difference and see the impact of their donations. Think about your organizational milestones this past year. How have you advanced your mission? How many clients have you served? Were there any special challenges that you overcame? Gather photos and videos that help tell your story.

  2. Define and segment your audience: Year-end giving letters should be sent to past and current donors, sponsors and volunteers. Try your best to segment your audience and send a slightly different letter to everyone. For example, previous or repeat donors should receive a different letter than prospects or volunteers, since you’ll want to thank them for their past contributions.

  3. Develop a content and communications calendar around the holidays: Begin with messages of gratitude in November before Thanksgiving to “warm” up your list. Time one of your appeals to Giving Tuesday (November 29) and send your last email on December 31.

  4. Craft several compelling emails: Showcase the impact of donations and thank past donors. Keep your tone warm, your message personal and brief and use visuals to help tell your story. Make sure you convey a sense of urgency and highlight the call to action. When possible, be specific about what a gift at various levels will fund. Be sure to let them know that any gift will make a difference. Emphasize your recurring giving program and remind them that their donation is tax-deductible. Provide an opportunity to make a gift in honor of another person on their holiday gift list. If you can secure a matching gift, let everyone know that their donation will be matched, doubling their impact.

  5. Make it easy for them to donate: How many clicks does it take your prospects to get to your donate page and complete the transaction? Make sure you take any friction out of the online donation process and create a special landing page on your website. Provide a mailing address and phone number for those who prefer to send or call in their contribution. 

  6. Support your year-end campaign through all communications channels: Coordinate your year-end campaign across all your communications channels, including email, social media, your newsletter and website. Ask your Board and volunteers to help spread your message by sharing the appeal with their networks and on social media.

  7. Immediately thank and recognize your donors: Thank and recognize your donors early and often (unless they prefer to remain anonymous). Donors should immediately receive a thank you letter with the amount and tax-deductibility of their gift. For major gifts, a personal note or phone call from the Executive Director should follow within the week. Be sure to recognize your donors on your annual donor list on your website and in your newsletter or annual report. 

Learn how you can work with Christine Rahill one-on-one as an Impact Coach. Or discover how your nonprofit can benefit from the fundraising consulting services.