Elizabeth Chung

5 Quick Strategies That Will Power Your Year-End Campaign Through the Finish Line

Ladies and gentlemen, we are entering the last week of 2014. As people rush to pack in their last-minute holiday shopping, card-writing, and party-planning, nonprofits have only one thing on their minds: the last stretch of their year-end fundraising campaigns.

As we’ve mentioned, it’s important to keep your head in the game when you near the end of any campaign. However, when it comes to your year-end fundraising efforts, it’s absolutely critical. Not only does your campaign take place during one of the most powerful fundraising months of the year, but a good chunk of all donations comes in just during the last week.

So, while you’ve been promoting your campaign nonstop up to this point, it’s time to kick it up a notch. Here are the steps you can take to power through the final stretch of the year!

1. Send a Thank-You Email (That Asks Softly)

You’ve been sending out email appeals all month, but at this point, you worry you might fatigue your donors. Then again, that doesn’t change the fact you still have to lock in those gifts by the end of the year. So what’s a fundraiser to do?

Go for the soft-ask approach. To give donors some breathing room between all of your hard asks, send an email at the start of this week that thanks donors for all of their support this year. But, instead of asking readers to donate or including a bold CTA button, simply hyperlink one of your last statements (or a relevant phrase within it) to your donation form. It’s a softer way to lead people to your page without directly asking for their money.

It might look something like this:

“In this season of gifts and giving, we would like to give thanks for the gift of your support. It’s because of you that we’re able to rescue children out of modern-day slavery.

Warm wishes to you and your family this holiday season!


Casey Jones, AwesomeOrg”

2. Whip Up A Quick eCard Image

We’ve been talking about eCards a lot recently, and for good reason. These things are awesome. When donors are able to send personalized, stylized eCards to the ones they love, it creates a much more meaningful and delightful experience for both the donor and dedicatee. With Classy’s eCard feature, for example, all you have to do is spin up the actual eCard image.

If you haven’t already, invest the hour or two to create a quick eCard. Love Rescues created several options here, but you only need to create one if you’re short on time. Then, promote your eCard option as a holiday gift for those hard-to-please friends and family.

Love Rescues

3. Emphasize Any Matching Campaigns

If there’s anything donors like more than making an impact, it’s the ability to double it. Now’s the time to promote your donation matching campaigns at full throttle. Announce them in your email campaigns and on social media.

If you don’t have any matching campaigns in the works, consider bringing your team together to brainstorm any last minute possible sponsorship options. With over 10% of donations coming in during the last three days of the year, this is the best time to strap down a match campaign that lasts even just for a few hours.

Think about whether you have any corporate partners or large donors who might be willing to sponsor a last-minute donation match during the final days of December.

4. Blast Those Last-Minute Email Appeals

Soft asks aside, your final, last-minute email appeals are some of the most critical messages in your entire campaign. You want to heighten the sense of urgency as December draws to a close, so plan a few emails to go out at the end of this week.

As a starting point, aim for 3 emails around the last two days of December. On December 30th, send an email counting down the days left to make a tax-deductible gift (e.g. “2 days left to make your 2014 tax-deductible donation!”).

On December 31st, send out two (or three) emails – one in the morning and another later in the day. These are your urgent “last minute” reminders for supporters to make their donations (e.g. “X hours left to nail down your 100% tax-deductible gift!”).

To hike up a sense of urgency, you can even include a graphic or GIF that counts down the remaining time to make a contribution, like this awesome timer Heifer International included in one of their emails. This is obviously a screenshot, but the actual graphic showed each second ticking down, ramping up the feeling that time was running out.

Heifer ticker

Remember to drop people out of your emails once they make a donation. Otherwise, you’ll give off the impression you’re not paying attention to their support, and your subsequent email blasts will just annoy them.

5. Reach Out To Your Fundraisers

If you’re leveraging peer-to-peer fundraising this season, reach out one last time to your fundraisers. Send an email thanking and celebrating supporters for their efforts up to this point, and then inform them that this is the last stretch; the heightened sense of urgency will motivate people to boost their efforts. It might be a good idea to call, rather than email, your power fundraisers This individualized outreach can refresh their enthusiasm to help close out a solid year.

Invite them to help give your campaign one final push. On that note, send them templates for last-minute email appeals they can send to their friends and family. Include any stories, photos, or videos that will help them motivate their networks to give. Also, remind fundraisers that if they haven’t done so already, they can kick off some campaign moment by donating to their own page first.


Don’t take this week lightly. These final days are potentially the most important of your entire year. In fact, they can make a serious difference in the overall results you take home from your holiday fundraising efforts. Make sure you plan your day-to-day strategy. What emails are you sending out, and on which days? What about engagement on social media? Are you making any phone calls, and if so, when? These are just a few of the questions to ask yourself as you lock down your game plan for the next week. It’s time to cross the finish line strong!

Read Next: 11 Smart Ways to Promote Your Holiday Fundraising Campaign

Image Credit: Andrew Moore

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