7 Nonprofit Fundraising Hacks to Max Your Year-End Goals

November 21, 2021
7 minutes

It’s finally happening: 2021 is winding to a close. We (almost) did it! Now, it’s time to go out with a bang by launching your best year-end campaign yet. Try these seven new fundraising hacks to meet—and exceed—your year-end fundraising goals.

If you're a busy nonprofit fundraiser (and who isn't?), grab our quick-and-easy Year-End Giving Guide for Busy Fundraisers.

Nonprofit Fundraising Hacks for Year-End Giving

1. Get personal

We’ve all received a letter addressed to “Dear NAME.” And no matter how beautifully written it may have been, we’ve tossed it in the recycling bin without a second glance. That’s because no one likes receiving a form email or letter, so the more personalized your communications, the better.

To up the personalization factor, revisit your donor segmentation strategy to ensure it’s aligned with your current priorities. While most of us segment donors by giving status and donation size, you can also segment by age, location, relationship to your organization, preferred means of communication, and preferred way to give.

Once you’ve segmented your donors, send tailored asks and updates that don't rely on NAME to speak directly to donors' needs and interests.

2. Phone a friend

The end of the year is a great time to put community-centric fundraising principles into action. To begin, repeat after us (in the immortal words of those sharks from Finding Nemo): nonprofits are friends, not food. In other words, your fellow nonprofits are your allies, not your competition.

By partnering with another organization for your year-end fundraising, you can both become stronger and more successful. For example, if you’re a larger organization, you can share technology resources with a smaller nonprofit. At the same time, the smaller nonprofit might be well-positioned to connect you to the local community.  

At the end of the day, remember that our work is about relationships, not transactions.

3. Engage directly

Everyone gives at the end of the year because they like to wrap things up on a positive note ...and they like the tax deductions.

Keep this warm-and-fuzzy spirit alive by pairing your year-end asks with authentic opportunities for community engagement. One fun way to build community? Ask supporters to share stories that align with your cause, and then publish them online so that everyone can read them.

For example, if you’re a research organization, ask why your research is personally important to your supporters. If you’re an animal shelter, solicit pet adoption stories. By establishing a sense of community and connection, you’ll keep donors coming back long after your year-end campaign ends.

4. Up your homepage game

We all know that 31% of online giving occurs in December. That’s a lot. And that spike in giving-related traffic merits some extra attention when it comes to the gateway to your organization: your homepage. Consider giving it an extra-special makeover so that the branding is consistent with your year-end campaign, creating a unified feel for visitors.

Also, because you’re sure to see an increase in new visitors, include a brief intro to your organization and its mission on your homepage, along with a custom donation button and pop-up donation form.

5. Make it automatic

This is the time of year when most of us would lose our heads if they weren’t attached to our bodies. And when things are beyond busy, it’s easy to forget a newsletter or post an Insta update with more than a few typos.

Enter automated emails and social media posts.

The beauty of automated communications is that you can sit down on a quiet Thursday morning after nine hours of sleep, write a bunch of amazing copy, and schedule it to post exactly when you want.

From a quick “Happy Holidays!” email to Facebook fundraising deadline reminders, nothing will fall through the cracks. You might actually be able to take all those vacation days you accrued this year!

6. Be honest

Not all nonprofits have the same resources. In fact, more than 500,000 nonprofits make less than $1 million in revenue each year. If you’re a smaller nonprofit with a tiny staff, don’t be worried that you're taking a little longer to follow up with donors or lacking a super-polished campaign.

Tell your donors where their funds are going and why it might be a while before they hear back. The fact that you’re busy doing great work on a shoestring budget is a completely valid excuse, and your work (and sanity) is much more important than delivering personalized thank-you notes to every single donor within 48 hours.

7. Look to the future

When January rolls around (and it will—sooner than you’d think!), don’t take your foot off the gas immediately. A lot of folks reassess their finances in the new year, so you don’t want to miss the opportunity to keep your cause top of mind.

When you send your thank-you’s, consider sharing your plans for the upcoming year as well. Highlight any exciting new projects or specific goals you have for the year ahead to rally supporters behind you as they decide how much to give and to whom.

Chances are you’re more than ready to put this year behind you, and with these tips and tricks, you can finish these last few months strong. Ready, set, fundraise!

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