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Year-End Fundraising Toolbox


Unwrap Year-End Fundraising Success with 10 Actionable Strategies

Let’s unwrap a few actionable tactics to boost your year-end fundraising campaigns with some holiday flair and a sprinkle of strategic brilliance.

Ah, the holiday season! A time of joy, love, and, of course, the sweet sound of ringing donation bells. For nonprofits, the end of the year is not just about sugar cookies and twinkling lights; it’s a golden opportunity to supercharge your fundraising efforts.

So, dear nonprofits, let’s unwrap a few actionable tactics to boost your year-end fundraising campaigns with some holiday flair and a sprinkle of strategic brilliance.

1. Set clear goals

Santa knows how many presents he needs to deliver on Christmas Eve, and you should know your fundraising goal. Set a clear, specific, and achievable target for your year-end campaign. Having a goal provides motivation to your team and helps your donors understand the impact that their contributions will have on your organization’s mission.

YOUR ACTION ITEM: Identify your overall fundraising goal… then break it into smaller, achievable milestones to track progress, keep your team motivated, and share with your supporters. Check out TLC’s Year-End Fundraising Workbook to help you identify your goals and KPIs.

2. Segment your donor list

It’s time to develop your own nice list. Identify which donors you want to focus on and segment your list based on their giving history, preferences, and engagement levels. This way, you can tailor your asks and messages to each group to make them feel more valued and understood.

YOUR ACTION ITEM: Create donor personas and segment your donor list accordingly so you can effectively craft personalized year-end fundraising appeals that resonate with each group. Check out TLC’s Year-End Fundraising Workbook to help you build out your donor personas and audience segments.

3. Get festive with your messaging

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and your messaging should reflect that. Craft a heartwarming story that highlights the impact of your organization’s work and makes potential donors feel like they are a part of the solution. Remember, your supporters are humans first, and they’re more likely to give when your message tugs at their heartstrings. So use cheerful visuals, infuse a warm holiday spirit in your communications, and share success stories and statistics that demonstrate the value of your cause.

YOUR ACTION ITEM: Invest time in crafting a powerful narrative, use visuals like photos and videos to reinforce your message, and sprinkle your communications with some festive cheer. Learn more about the elements of good storytelling here.

4. Make a strategic plan

Like Santa’s elves, you should get busy planning ahead and develop a detailed calendar that outlines key milestones, deadlines, and promotional activities. A robust plan will help you stay organized and ensure that your campaign runs smoothly.

YOUR ACTION ITEM: Create a timeline with specific dates for launching the campaign, sending emails, and hosting events. Stick to your schedule to maximize the campaign’s impact. Check out TLC’s Year-End Fundraising Workbook for a few key dates to include as well as a sample schedule.

5. Make giving easy

Remember, the reindeer do the heavy lifting; all kids need to do is leave out some cookies. Make donating to your cause as effortless as possible. Optimize your website so it’s easy to use and mobile-responsive, include specific giving levels, and offer multiple payment options.

YOUR ACTION ITEM: Test your donation page to ensure it’s user-friendly and hassle-free.

6. Lock in matching gifts and challenges

When it comes to donations, the more the merrier! So help donors maximize their donations by securing matching opportunities, identifying employer matching programs, or creating fundraising challenges. Matching gifts effectively doubles the impact of each donation, while challenges create a sense of urgency and competition among donors.

YOUR ACTION ITEM: Collaborate with corporate partners and major donors to offer matching opportunities, utilize a matching gift database to identify employer matching programs, or create exciting challenges that motivate your supporters to give.

7. Engage on multiple channels

Santa doesn’t just rely on chimneys; he uses the front door, too. Similarly, your nonprofit should be present on multiple platforms—email, website, direct mail, social media, paid ads, texting, and even phone calls to reach donors where they are most comfortable. Consistent messaging across channels reinforces your campaign’s message.

YOUR ACTION ITEM: Outline all the communication channels you’ll utilize to reach donors wherever they are and map out a communications strategy. Check out TLC’s Year-End Fundraising Toolbox to help you do so and stay on track with a detailed checklist.

8. Create a sense of urgency

Just as kids rush to the tree on Christmas morning, your donors should feel a sense of urgency to donate. Use limited-time offers, countdowns, and deadlines to create a sense of FOMO around your campaign.

YOUR ACTION ITEM: Identify feasible ways you can create a sense of urgency—think donation challenges or incentives like a “12 Days of Giving” campaign—and put them into action.

9. Leverage the power of social proof

Show off those shiny ornaments! Highlight your past successes, testimonials, and impact stories. When donors see that others believe in your cause, it builds trust and encourages them to join the festivities.

YOUR ACTION ITEM: Share success stories and user-generated content from your donors and beneficiaries on your website and social media.

10. Show gratitude and keep your donors informed

Always, and we mean ALWAYS, share your merriment and thank your donors. Send personalized and genuine thank you emails, handwritten cards, or make thank you calls. Gratitude is a gift that keeps on giving.

YOUR ACTION ITEM: Create a robust donor recognition plan that includes personalized thank-you notes, progress reports, and updates on your organization’s achievements.

As the year draws to a close, your nonprofit has the chance to make a lasting impact and boost your year-end fundraising to new heights. Remember, it’s not just about reaching your goals; it’s about creating a magical experience for your donors. So, go ahead, sprinkle some holiday magic into your campaigns, and watch your nonprofit sleigh the year-end fundraising game. Merry fundraising, and may your holiday season be filled with generosity and success!


To learn more about creating a successful year-end fundraising campaign that propels your nonprofit toward its goals, download our comprehensive year-end fundraising toolbox and check out our 8 Weeks of Year-End Fundraising Resources.

Written by Capin Alexander

Capin Alexander is the National Director of Nonprofit Development at The Lukens Company (TLC), an award-winning full-service marketing agency that provides direct response, donor development, and fundraising services to nonprofits, cultural institutions, advocacy groups, and faith-based organizations. An accomplished development leader dedicated to empowering nonprofits to achieve their goals through impactful fundraising strategies, specializes in creating and executing strategic fundraising campaigns that drive revenue, supporter growth, and brand awareness. You can connect with Capin via email or LinkedIn.

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