Use the icons below to discover year-end giving concepts.
What is Year-End Giving?
Year-end giving refers to the rise in charitable giving during the last three months of the calendar year. It greatly impacts nonprofit fundraising due to the rise in donations and awareness of each cause.
End-of-Year Giving Timeline
The first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, an international day of charitable giving to many nonprofits.
New Year’s Eve
Giving tends to peak on this day, especially due to tax benefits.
New Year’s Day
This day marks the conclusion of the giving season.
Year-End Giving Statistics
Year-end giving can have a huge impact on your revenue for the year. Check out these year-end giving statistics to put this in perspective:
The Year-End Giver’s Journey:
5 Steps to Cultivate & Retain End-of-Year Donors
It’s important to make people aware of your cause and give them the tools they need to make an informed decision before they decide to give to your nonprofit. We call this the year-end giver’s journey, explained below in 5 steps.
Step #1: Donor Awareness - Make a Great First Impression
The first step of the year-end giver’s journey involves building education and awareness around your cause. This is the giver’s first impression of your cause and starts to answer the question of why they should give to your organization. Even though the end of the year is a popular time for giving, this isn’t a guarantee that donors will automatically choose you.
When looking to make a lasting impression and reach new donors, you can:
Host a Giving Tuesday kickoff event, which can be done online or in person. Giving Tuesday is an excellent day to start your end-of-year giving appeals and draw attention to your cause.
An event will also allow you to directly interact with potential year-end givers and expose them to the great work your nonprofit is doing.
Use different types of media to drive home your cause. The great thing about media is that it can be easily shared across multiple platforms and customized to explain your mission, as well as show how you help your beneficiaries. Live videos or thank-a-thons are excellent and unique ways to leverage social media.
But don’t forget about email! Email is still a strong source of donation revenue. Perform email outreach tailored to segmented groups of donors to present your cause and encourage them to take part in your year-end giving campaign.
Use Online Tools
There are many online tools you can take advantage of that will help your year-end giving outreach succeed:
- Creating online giving forms. Forms that are branded to your organization, customizable, and easy to navigate will encourage individuals who visit your donation page to stay and complete a donation.
- Incorporating a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. Recruit your supporters to fundraise on your behalf with their own unique peer-to-peer fundraising campaign pages, which will expand your outreach beyond your typical donor circle.
- Using text-to-donate and text-to-give. Donors can conveniently give directly from their smartphones from wherever they are.
The easier you make it for individuals to support you, the more likely they will be to do so, especially during the year-end giving season.
Step #2: Donor Research - Show Your Organization's Impact
The next step in the giver’s journey is the research and consideration stage. Before an individual will decide to donate to your cause, they need to learn more about it. So how can your nonprofit make the most of this research stage during year-end giving?
Create a case statement for your organization where you outline what donors have helped achieve in the past and what they can achieve by donating now. You should also stories from the people who will benefit from their gifts.
Case statements can include testimonials and important details about how you’ll affect change, but you should absolutely customize it to the year-end giving season, stating how much people donated last year and what your goal is this year.
Be sure to provide something tangible, demonstrating to donors why they should give.
Year-End Giving Pages
Online year-end giving pages highlight the impact your donor’s gift to your year-end giving campaign can make. They are a great way to explain what your organization does and the impact your donor can make, which can inspire someone to donate to you over another organization.
Highlight Last Year’s Campaign
Promote your year-end giving campaign by highlighting the impact that last year’s donors made on your community. Offer a compelling reason for donors to rise up to your ask with real-life examples of people you helped after last year’s campaign.
Step #3: The Donation - Be Ready to Accept Donations
If you want your donors to make a year-end gift, making a donation needs to be as convenient as possible. This means the tools you use should allow you to create an easy-to-use form and develop a process that donors will see through from start to finish.
Your nonprofit should ensure this with:
Easy-to-Use Online Giving Forms
Customize your online giving form to ask only for the information you absolutely need. If you make the process too long or too complicated, donors are less likely to complete their donation.
Multiple Channels of Giving
Offering multiple channels of giving will make it easy for your donors to give however they prefer. Some may want to give through an online donation form, but others may prefer using their smartphones (text-to-donate) or a giving kiosk onsite at an event. If donors aren’t familiar with your cause or organization, they may happen across it during a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign that your nonprofit runs.
Other Easy Tools
Offering suggested gift amounts, allowing donors to create their own accounts, and activating recurring gift options can all work to make your supporters’ giving process even smoother. If they have a good experience with your donation process now, they will be more likely to come back later.
Step #4: Post Donation - Stay Engaged, Show Your Appreciation
While the year-end giving season is a huge time of the year for nonprofits, you don’t want your sole focus to be on securing year-end donors. It’s important that you make lasting connections that will come back to support you for years to come. For that reason, keeping up your engagement is key.
Try out these strategies to retain year-end donors and keep them engaged:
Show Appreciation and Personalize Your Outreach
When you receive a gift, especially from new supporters, it’s great to share customized direct mail and email with them. This should happen immediately following their gift and shouldn’t be classified as a simple confirmation receipt or gift acknowledgement.
It’s essential that you send out personalized messages that show your donors the impact of their gift, and even better if you share the outcome of your campaign once it’s complete. Your donors have trusted you with their information, so be sure to leverage it in the most positive and impactful way possible.
Connect Through Social Media
Social media engagement is a large component of the year-end giving season. Once an individual has given to your nonprofit, you shouldn’t simply stop connecting with them and interacting. Invite them to events and solicit feedback on the activities they’ve participated in. Actively listen and converse with them, and they’ll feel valued for their time and energy. It’s also a great time of year to send donor surveys to ask donors for feedback, ideas, and insights.
Pick Up the Phone
If someone gives to your year-end giving campaign, it’s a good practice to call them to thank them for their gift and give them an update on what their gift helped accomplish. Then, during your next campaign, contact them and thank them for giving, then present another campaign you believe they may be interested in. From there, you can make an additional ask.
Be careful with this type of outreach! Donors don’t want to constantly be asked for money. Identify the ideal ways you should reach out to them and when.
Step #5: Re-engage - Securing the Golden Donation
After you build strong relationships with your new donors following a year-end giving campaign, your nonprofit is ready to secure the golden donation.
What is the golden donation? This is the second donation your nonprofit receives from an individual donor, which means they’re likely to give continuing giving a third time, fourth time, and so on. The golden donation bridges the gap between the first and second donation.
If you secure the golden donation, this means you’ve done an excellent job of building awareness during the year-end giving season, giving your donors a compelling reason to give during their research phase, making the donation process easy, and working to cultivate and re-engage with them.
Year-End Giving: 9 Essential Marketing Media
Your nonprofit needs to make an impactful connection with your community, so it’s in your best interest to master some tried-and-true marketing tools:
Boost Giving with Text Fundraising
- Text donations are a quick and easy way for donors to give
- Donors give via text when generosity strikes them – all they need to do is text the simple shortcode to the provided number
- The entire process is mobile-friendly and can help you raise even more
Donation Forms – Accept Donations Online
- Donation Forms need to be Mobile Responsive – More than two-thirds of households access the internet using mobile devices.
- Keep It Short and Simple
- Offer a reasonable number of restrictions – 5 or 6
Peer-to-Peer Fundraising – Empower your Ambassadors
- Reach more donors – provide your greatest supporters with fundraising tools
- Your overall message must be impactful – work closely with your volunteer fundraisers to sync up on their progress and offer support.
- If you embrace the peer-to-peer culture, your year-end giving results will reflect that.
Social Media – Show & Tell A Story
- Promote Images & Videos – Catch their eye & reel them in with your story
- Be positive and uplifting – take pressure off the supporters who may be overwhelmed by the holiday season stress.
- Use eye-catching graphics and simple taglines – inspire individuals to give to your campaign, keeping them updated on your progress along the way.
Video – Make an Emotional Connection
- 52% of people who watch a nonprofit video will go on to make a gift.
- Videos are the perfect way to connect with your donors on an emotional level as you make a fundraising ask.
- You can feature your videos on social media or in your email outreach toward the beginning of your campaign
Email – Focus on Storytelling
- Email results in 1/3 of online fundraising revenue – and has the highest ROI of any marketing channel
- Segment your donors into groups – tailor your messages.
- Focus on storytelling, simple language, straightforwardness, and evoking an emotional response.
- Prioritize image and video content, create short and enticing subject lines, and make your ask early in the message.
Phone Calls – Make a Personal Connection
- People feel generous during year-end giving, so give them a reason to be generous to you.
- Be genuine in your appeal – listen to the donor on the other end.
- Talk with them, not at them!
Corporate Partnerships – Increase Funding and Exposure
- Corporate philanthropy is rapidly evolving – companies get involved in social issues by partnering with nonprofit organizations
- Nonprofits need to present themselves as worthy organizations for those partnerships.
- With a corporation behind you, you can raise more awareness around your cause, especially during the year-end giving season.
During year-end giving campaigns, direct mail can help supplement your other fundraising efforts.
You can offer instructions to give both by mail and online to make the appeal more effective, but direct mail adds an extra personalized touch to your outreach, which will be appreciated by many donors.
Additional Year-End Giving Resources
Year-end fundraising is a hectic time! Learn how you can use social media to boost your year-end giving efforts.