Strategizing to develop a robust year-end fundraising campaign

During the holidays, an effective year-end fundraising strategy can be beneficial for nonprofits.
Date Published
11/18/2014

Nonprofit fundraising is a year-round endeavor. However, the final two months of a calendar year – the holiday season – is when charitable groups look to aggressively solicit donors for gifts. This is usually the time when people are feeling benevolent and spurred by an intense desire to give. Nonprofits can tap into this and benefit, but careful planning must be employed during the first 10 months of the year.

Waiting to develop a year-end fundraising campaign can either be woefully ineffective once executed or not deliver the desired results. Here are few suggestions on developing an end-of-year fundraising strategy well ahead of time that will provide the greatest benefit once it is deployed during the holidays:

  • Regardless of the plan, write it down: This may seem like common sense, but many organizations often wing it when it comes to nonprofit fundraising efforts. Nonprofit Quarterly suggested that writing a strategy out provides a roadmap that can be followed throughout the year. This ensures that everyone involved in the process doesn’t skip any steps and leaves nothing to chance.
  • Develop an asking strategy: There are a number of ways to solicit donors for financial gifts. However, a common misconception is the way a nonprofit asks in July will also work in November and December. This is a critical mistake. Using language, images or a combination of the two during the holiday season that aligns with the spirit of the occasion is an effective strategy for charitable groups.
  • Create a donor development pipeline: The goal of any nonprofit fundraising campaign is not to receive a one-time gift, but a returning donor. In order to be effective, a 501(c)(3) organization must have a continuous flow of financial gifts in order to achieve its mission. Nonprofit Quarterly highlights the importance of establishing and cultivating donor pipelines during the year so that when the holiday season rolls around, contributors will think of the charity they’ve aligned with and give to it as well.
  • Always say thank you: No matter when a nonprofit receives a financial gift, a thank you letter should always be sent – not as a common courtesy, but out of obligation. Showing appreciation to a donor for their contribution is a way to not only receive continued monetary donations, but even bigger ones during the holidays.

Other year-end fundraising strategies
In addition to the previous suggestions, there are other ways for a nonprofit to ensure that it is on the receiving end of financial gifts during the holiday season. A recent article from npENGAGE stated that campaigns deployed at the end of the year should be themed to spur on the spirit of giving.

Whether deployment occurs via email, direct mail or telephone, make a holiday tie-in can be a great way to encourage donors to give. The website also highlighted the importance of understanding who the donor base is. Year-end campaign messaging must be crafted in such a way that it targets certain groups. Volunteers need to be communicated to in a manner that differs from the language used to attract potential donors or those who already support a charity financially.

The holiday season can be a great way that nonprofit fundraising efforts can be bolstered to get an organization off to a promising start for the New Year. However, failing to properly strategize can cause some charities to fall flat during the holidays. It’s important to remember that consistent nonprofit fundraising and communication efforts employed form January through October can make all the difference when November and December roll around. 

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