Everyone can hear the clock ticking.
With just a few weeks before the year is over, the pressure is on to raise more money.
It’s the best time of the year for nonprofit fundraising because most people are thinking about those less fortunate and thinking about the charitable donations they want to make during the holidays.
In fact, half of nonprofits raise the bulk of their annual operating money during October, November, and December each year.
So, if you don’t have a plan for year-end fundraising, you may be missing out.
The good news is that if the ball hasn’t yet dropped, you’ve got time to try a few things to raise more money.
Before you begin…
There are a few things you should do before you start asking people for year-end donations:
- Update your website for the holidays including your Donate Now page and your thank-you/receipt so they’re current, inviting, and ready for donors to give.
- Gather a couple of heart-tugging stories that you can tell. It’s true that “facts tell, stories sell,” especially in fundraising. A well-told story with a great photo or video can inspire a donor or prospect to give and give big.
- Make sure you have plenty of warm touches to balance out your asks. No one likes to be asked over and over and the feel-good stuff will keep people from feeling like you only want their money.
- Ask for an amount of money that represents something tangible. For example, ask people to “give $6.80 to provide a day’s worth of food, shelter, and care for a homeless dog” not “help us reach our year-end goal of $10,000.” Which one would YOU give to?
Taking the time to make sure you’re ready to give people a reason to give and a great experience with your nonprofit will pay off big. Remember, that you don’t want people to just give to your year-end fundraising efforts – you want them to KEEP giving long into the future.
7 Ideas to Boost Your Year-End Fundraising Results
Regardless of the size of your nonprofit or how much time you have left in the year, there are things you can do to boost your year-end fundraising results.
1. Call to say “thanks.” It’s never too late to thank donors, especially your best donors. Pick up the phone and call your top 10-20 donors just to say “thanks for your support this year.” Don’t ask them for anything. Just genuinely thank them. Not only will this build the relationship, sometimes this simple act can prompt another donation before the clock chimes on New Year’s Eve.
2. Get people involved. Offer volunteer opportunities throughout the holidays, especially family-friendly ones. People love to do things that make them feel good, and volunteering not only does that but gives folks a personal experience with your organization.
3. Hold an open house. Schedule an open house to let people see first-hand what your nonprofit does. It doesn’t have to be fancy – in fact, sometimes simpler is better because it feels more authentic. If you’d rather not host an “event,” let your supporters know you’ve got a couple of openings for private tours before the end of the year. The folks who take you up on it are seriously interested in your mission and one-on-one time with serious donors is ALWAYS a good idea. If neither of these work, consider a Facebook Live to show people by video what your nonprofit work is all about.
4. Pitch a story to the local news media. The week between Christmas and New Year’s is typically a slow news week. Overworked news reporters are looking for feel-good stories that they can finish ahead of time so they can take time off the last week of the year. Reach out NOW to your local media to get your story in the news. Pull together all the ‘who, what, when where’ details of the story along with a photo opp if you can.
5. Send an e-appeal campaign. The last week of the year is THE biggest for online donations. Reach out to your donors and supporters with email reminders that they have a few days left to make a donation that counts for this year. Send email #1 on Dec 26, email #2 on Dec 29, and email #3 on Dec 31. If this feels like too much email to you, don’t worry – it’s not. Keep the messages focused on how your nonprofit changes lives. This is NOT the time to ask for support for your annual fund or to help you meet an arbitrary goal (no one outside of nonprofit fundraising really knows what an annual fund is anyway).
6. Show up on social media. Now is the time to consistently show up on social media. Plan what you’ll post and when on Facebook and Instagram between now and New Year’s Eve. Make sure to vary it a bit so you’re not constantly asking people to make a year-end gift. Include educational posts, stories about lives you’ve changed, funny memes, video of your organization in action, and anything else that’s relevant. Use plenty of graphics and photos to keep it visually interesting. The Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley (HSTV) does a great job of mixing it up. Find them at www.Facebook.com/Humanesocietytennessee.
7. Leverage relationships. Ask your Board members, volunteers, and other supporters to invite their friends to join them in supporting your nonprofit. Give them some text they can use in an email and on social media, along with a link to your website, and an image or video. Remember, the easier you make it for people to do what you want them to do, the more likely they are to do it. Several years ago, I asked the Board members of a client organization to forward an email appeal to their friends and we raised an additional $10,000 plus got lots of new donors with that strategy.
The end of the year brings lots of opportunities for fundraising, and when you ask for donations while people are in the mood to give, you’ll see better results.
But don’t wait for people to come find your nonprofit to give. It’s your job to remind them your nonprofit is here and working hard to make a difference. Give people a reason to give by telling a moving story and asking for an amount they can see will make a difference and you’ll be on your way to reaching your year-end fundraising goals.
About the Author:
Sandy Rees, Chief Encouragement Officer, Get Fully Funded
Sandy shows leaders of small nonprofits how to fully fund their big vision, so they can spend more time changing lives instead of worrying about money. She has helped dozens of small nonprofits go from “nickel-and-dime fundraising” to adding 6 figures to their bottom line. As a trainer, she shows her students how to find ideal donors, connect through authentic messaging, and build relationships that stand the test of time, so that fundraising becomes easy and predictable. Find out more at www.GetFullyFunded.com