Explore donor giving expectations and motivations as we head into year-end giving and 2023.

How to Easily Unite Your Giving Tuesday and Year-End Campaigns

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By Hannah Durbin

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Published December 9, 2021 Reading Time: 7 minutes

Giving Tuesday serves as the perfect opportunity to kick off your year-end fundraising campaign. After all, nonprofits raised more than $2.7 billion in the U.S. alone on Giving Tuesday 2021.

Year-end fundraising is an integral part of most nonprofits’ annual strategy. Knowing that one-third of all giving on the Classy platform takes place between Giving Tuesday and December 31st, it’s important to determine how your nonprofit organization will capitalize on the remaining weeks of the year to achieve your ambitious fundraising goals.

If the year-end season crept up quicker than you were hoping, read on to discover how your nonprofit can save time and resources this season by uniting your Giving Tuesday and year-end appeals. We will also provide our top strategy recommendations for powering your annual fundraising campaign through the finish line.

Pencils of Promise’s Season of Promise campaign

Combine Your Campaigns to Sustain Giving Momentum

While many nonprofits see Giving Tuesday and year-end fundraising as separate initiatives, uniting these impactful campaigns can help open your organization up to new possibilities.

If you find yourself building out a year-end strategy that feels like a natural extension of your Giving Tuesday goals, combine the two to create a cohesive holiday appeal. Instead of starting over, simply flip your Giving Tuesday campaign to reflect your year-end goal and continue driving donors to your existing landing page.

How to Successfully Flip Your Giving Tuesday Campaign:

Flip Your Giving Tuesday Campaign
  • Use a branded campaign name and URL that applies to both Giving Tuesday and year-end to ensure it encompasses both appeals, like Pencils of Promise does for their annual Season of Promise year-end campaign
  • Refresh the main hero image on your campaign landing page to reflect your year-end goal
  • Update any Giving Tuesday-specific text in your impact blocks, custom text blocks, or “About” section
  • Tweak your donation form to communicate how each gift will make an impact in the year-end season
  • Add relevant details throughout your landing page to reassure donors that their gifts will support your timely fundraising goal

Motivate Supporters With Social Proof

animated giving tuesday heart

Capitalize on the surge of momentum generated on one of the social sector’s biggest giving days to help donors feel empowered.

Think of uniting your campaigns like getting started on year-end early. For example, the earlier you engage your avid supporters to contribute to your Giving Tuesday campaign, the higher your chances that other newcomers will get involved. This is what’s known as the goal-proximity effect, which simply states that the rate of contributions substantially increases as a campaign gets closer to its fundraising goal.

The same applies to your end of year giving campaign. When you unite these initiatives, the progress you made toward your fundraising goal on Giving Tuesday shows year-end donors how much people believe in your work and your ability to make a difference. This builds social proof and builds donor engagement, which can influence other communities to participate.

Create a Template for Your Large-Scale Campaigns

Building a strong Giving Tuesday campaign requires a lot of time and creativity. Rather than letting those resources now go to waste, duplicate your page within the Classy platform to continue building and improving upon it for year-end.

To start building on Classy, locate the “Templates” tab that lives in the side navigation bar to create a template based on your existing Giving Tuesday campaign. The “Pages” and “Email” sections will be carried over from the campaign you select, including all copy and design. Once you publish your template, you can start customizing it right away to reflect your year-end appeal.

Not only does Classy’s campaign templating open the door to major time-savings, it also offers a quick and easy way for organizations to maintain brand consistency across events and campaigns, streamline campaign edits, and collaborate across accounts.

While these capabilities are useful for all Classy customers, they come in particularly handy for organizations that host endurance events that span multiple locations, partner-focused organizations, and organizations with multiple chapters or foundations.

But, who says that’s where the fun has to end? Now that you know how to align your Giving Tuesday and Year-End Campaign, it’s time to put that synergy into action and push your efforts to the finish line.

5 Tactics to Finish Your Year-End Fundraising Efforts Strong

While it’s important to keep your head in the game when you near the end of any campaign, it’s absolutely critical when it comes to your year-end fundraising efforts. Not only does your campaign take place during one of the most powerful fundraising months, but a good chunk of all donations comes in during the last three days of the year.2

So, while you’ve been promoting your campaign non-stop up to this point, it’s time to kick it up a notch. Here are five steps you can take to power through the final days of your year-end campaign.

1. Say Thanks (With a Soft Ask)

You’ve been sending out email appeals all month, but at this point, you worry you might fatigue your donors. Then again, you still have to lock in those end-of-year gifts.

Enter the soft-ask. This can be accomplished by sending out a year-end donor thank you letter or email. To give donors some breathing room between all of your hard asks, send an email at the start of the week that includes a subtle or “soft” ask. The focus of your email should be on thanking donors or sharing year-end impact success stories, but then you can hyperlink to your donate page or include a donate button in the footer.

In the example below, Walk With Sally recently emailed supporters with an annual impact infographic to celebrate the success of 2017, but also took the opportunity to ask for donations so that the organization can continue to grow.

2. Whip Up a Quick eCard

An eCard allows a donor to share the goodwill they experience when making a donation. Rather than receiving a note that a donation was made in their honor, the dedicatee gets a personalized, stylized eCard for a much more meaningful and delightful experience.

If you haven’t already done so, invest an hour or two to create an eCard to add to your Classy donation page. Project Sunshine includes several options here, but you only need to create one if you’re short on time. Don’t forget to promote your eCard option as a holiday gift for those hard-to-please friends and family.

3. Emphasize Any Matching Campaigns

If there’s one thing 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 campaign 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 sponsorship options. With 12 percent of donations coming in during the last three days of the year, this is the best time to strap down a match campaign-even if it only lasts for a few hours.2

Think about whether you have any corporate sponsorships or large donors who might be willing to sponsor a donation match during the final days of December. For example, Will Ferrell recently pledged to match every donation made to Cancer for College, up to $250,000, through the month of December.3 

4. Maximize Last-Minute Email Appeals

Your final email appeals are some of the most critical messages in your entire campaign. For your end of year giving 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 three emails around the last two days of December. On December 30, send an email counting down the days left to make a tax-deductible gift (e.g. “2 days left to make your 2017 tax-deductible donation!”).

On December 31, send out two (or three) emails-one in the morning and another later in the day. These are your urgent last-minute reminders for your donor base to make their donations.

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

Remember to remove people from your email appeals once they make a donation. Otherwise, you’ll give off the impression you’re not paying attention to their support, and you risk losing their trust or having them hit the unsubscribe button.

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 final stretch; the heightened sense of urgency will motivate people to boost their efforts. If you have the resources, take the time to call your power fundraisers to share your goal progress. This individualized outreach can refresh their enthusiasm to help close out a solid year through charitable giving.

Invite your heavy-hitters to help give your campaign one final push. To make it easier for them, 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 of potential new donors to give.

Also, remind fundraisers that if they haven’t done so already, they can kick off some campaign momentum by donating to their own page first. 

Make sure you plan your day-to-day strategy. What emails are you sending out, and when? Are you focusing on building donor 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 to successfully round out annual giving. It’s time to cross the finish line strong.

Make the Most of the Year-End Fundraising Season

Regardless of when you started drawing up the blueprint for your year-end strategy, it’s not too late to reap the benefits of the most impactful giving season of the year.

Consider how combining your campaigns can build social proof by assuring your year-end donors that they’re contributing to a winning effort. Or, consider how the hours of time you would save with campaign templating could be put to better use elsewhere.

Keep your supporters updated with additional events and campaigns post-Giving Tuesday, encourage them to stay involved, and keep the fundraising excitement alive with targeted outreach to boost donor retention in the new year.

Here at Classy, we understand the importance of pushing your fundraising campaigns to a strong finish, but it’s absolutely crucial when dealing with a year-end campaign. This is a time of year when people are most apt to donate, and a large percentage of your annual donations will come in during the final week. So, what are you waiting for? Reach out to get started today!

Sources:

  1. https://www.givingtuesday.org/blog/millions-of-people-come-together-to-celebrate-generosity-share-kindness-and-drive-record-breaking-giving-on-givingtuesday-2021/
  2. https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=1360
  3. https://www.classy.org/campaign/perfect-match/c154338
year-end fundraising

The Smart Guide to Strong Year-End Fundraising

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