As we reach the end of the year, it’s time to start thinking about your final fundraising push! One of the simplest and best ways to get your donors engaged with giving in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is to send an end-of-year giving letter out to your donors. End-of-year giving letters are a great way to ask your donors for one last donation before you start fresh and strive to meet new fundraising goals in the next year.
What is an end-of-year giving letter?
An end-of-year giving letter is a vital part of your year-end fundraising strategy. It is a direct way to connect with your donors and ask them if they’d like to make a final gift to your organization before the new year. Studies show that for many donors, the reason why they don’t give is because they’re never asked, so it’s important to take that step! More likely than not, you’ll send a few end-of-year giving letters as the year winds down to ensure that your donors have plenty of opportunities to make their final donations. These letters can come in many formats, from direct mail to emails.
End-of-Year Giving Letter Strategies
1. Focus on your donors
The key to your end-of-year giving letters is to put the focus on your donors. A generic fundraising ask won’t connect with your donors and encourage them to donate to your organization. You can start by segmenting your donors to create more specific letters. Organize your donors into different groups using information you’ve collected about them in your donor database. Demographic information, giving history, event attendance records, and volunteer engagement are all great ways of categorizing your donors so you can write more specific donation asks.
Remember your audience
When you’re ready to start writing your letters, remember your audience. You want to empower your donors and make sure they know that their support is invaluable to your organization. If they feel like they are an important part of your cause and that their donation will go toward making a difference, they’ll be more likely to make a gift.
Thank your donors
With any end-of-year giving letters, it’s best to say thank you to donors for their support over the past year—especially to donors who have already made a gift, attended an event, or donated their time by volunteering over the course of the year. Acknowledge their involvement with your organization and thank them for already being an important part of your year’s successes.
Highlight your major accomplishments
In addition to thanking your donors who have been involved with your organization, provide them with specific information about how their support has made a difference and contributed to your organization’s work. Highlight your major accomplishments and tell stories about the people or communities you’ve impacted. Give statistics about your most successful fundraisers and provide updates about projects donors have helped to fund. When your supporters see the impact of their gifts, they’ll be more likely to give again to make an even bigger impact.
2. Tell a story
Storytelling is one of the best ways to connect with your donors. When you pull on your donors’ heartstrings or appeal to their emotions, they’ll pay attention to what you have to say and what you’re asking of them. Find stories from people and communities your nonprofit has served and include them in your letter. Stay focused on the impact your organization makes and ensure that your donors know that the work you do isn’t possible without their contributions.
3. Include a donation form
When sending a donation ask, it’s essential that you give your supporters an easy way to make their donations. The best way to do that is to include a donation form with all your end-of-year giving letters, whether you’re sending them by email or direct mail.
Give your donors options
Give your donors options for donating. If you’re sending an end-of-year giving letter via direct mail, include a physical donation form with the option for your donors to send back a check or cash through the mail. However, for donors who might prefer a more secure giving option, include a link to your online donation form in the text of your giving letter, or even print a QR code that directly links to your donation form that your supporters can scan with their phones.
Make sure your form is in great shape
Before sending your donors to your online donation form, make sure it’s in tip-top shape and ready to receive digital visitors. Your donation form should be well-formatted and easy to navigate for even your most digitally challenged donors. With multi-step donation forms, you can break up the information fields you’re asking your donors to fill out and avoid presenting them with an intimidating form that’s cluttered with information fields to fill out all at once.
Highlight your org’s branding
You should also make sure your organization’s branding is front and center on your donation forms. When people visit your donation form, they shouldn’t be confused about whether they’re in the right place to give to your organization. By adding your logo to your donation form and using your brand’s colors, you can build donor trust and help your supporters feel confident about making a gift.
4. Engage your donors
Your end-of-year giving letter needs to engage your donors, draw them in, and encourage them to make a gift to your organization. Always include at least one eye-catching CTA in your end-of-year giving letter, but don’t use more than two or three CTAs to avoid overwhelming your donors. Make sure the action you’re asking your donors to take is clear and simple and don’t be afraid to get creative to grab your donors’ attention.
Another way to engage your donors is to include interactive content or free gifts with your giving letter. With the holiday season approaching, you could include free holiday cards for your donors to make use of when they’re giving holiday presents to friends or sending messages of cheer and goodwill to family. For the new year, you could put together a calendar for your donors to use that will serve as a constant reminder of the work your nonprofit does all throughout the next calendar year. This can help keep your nonprofit at the front of your supporters’ minds into the new year and keep them engaged with your organization.
5. Thank your donors
Once you’ve sent out your end-of-year giving letters and the donations come rolling in, it’s time to thank your donors for their support. Lots of donation asks happen at the end of the year and many organizations are vying for people’s attention. The fact that your donors would take the time to give to your organization should be acknowledged and you should express your gratitude for their time and generosity promptly.
Be creative and heartfelt
Come up with creative and heartfelt ways to show your donors that their gift matters to you. You could send your donors handwritten holiday cards or a fun email to express your gratitude for their support. A video thank you is another way to put a little extra effort into thanking your donors in a unique and engaging medium. Just make sure your thanks is expressed in a more personalized manner so donors feel special to your organization and more connected.
When the new year rolls around, make sure to follow up once again with your donors. Send another thank you and provide donors with an impact update on how their donation made a difference to your organization’s work. Express how excited you are for the new year and highlight any projects you might have planned or events for your supporters to look forward to. This will keep your donors engaged even beyond your end-of-year fundraising efforts.
Sending an end-of-year giving letter to your supporters is an easy way to jumpstart your year-end fundraising campaign and make a final push toward meeting your yearly fundraising goals before the new year comes. With the spirit of cheer and generosity in the air, connecting with your donors during the holiday season is a must, so find creative ways to connect with your donors and get them engaged with your mission!