Quick and Easy Marketing Tips for End-of-Year Full-Court Press Fundraising

fundraising marketing strategy marketing tools Dec 03, 2017

A quick 5-minute read including marketing strategies that I’ve used to help many nonprofits generate thousands of dollars in end-of-year support for their cause.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – not only for families but for nonprofits as well.

People are in a more generous mood and are actively looking to donate to good causes as part of their celebration of the season. Several sources indicate that almost one-third of all annual giving occurs in December, and often that giving is at a higher level than during the rest of the year. And, on a more practical level, donors might be considering what they owe the IRS and want to get in tax-deductible donations before they ring in 2018. 

It’s a great time to recap the work you’ve done this year in your nonprofit and motivate them to make that donation to your cause. The trick is to leverage what resources you already have into effective communications that touch them on multiple platforms – regular mail, e-communications, social media posts and even some affordable advertising.

Here’s my best-of-the-best marketing strategies that I’ve used to help many nonprofits generate thousands of dollars in end-of-year donation support.

  • The end of year fundraising appeal letter. This letter should be segmented with messaging directed at your three top audiences:

    • Your top-tier donors (such as members of a Chairman’s Circle) who have not given this year. Thank them for their previous support, make notes of how those high-level givers are essential to your mission and ask them to renew their commitment before the year’s end. Often these donors planned to give and just haven’t had a chance to yet. Your reminder will come at just the right time.

    • Current supporters who have given in 2017. This one is particularly important if you haven’t quite met your fundraising target for the year. The letter should start, of course, with a sincere thank you for their generosity this year. But you can include a status report letting them know where your fundraising stands and ask if they would consider an additional gift.

    • Lapsed donors. Let former donors who have fallen off your rolls know that they are missed. Use this letter as a chance to catch them up on what your organization has been doing in the past year with an invitation for them to rejoin the family.

  • Segment and personalize e-communications.

    • This can be in lieu of the printed letter outlined above, however…

    • It’s even better if it’s done in conjunction with the letter above. In that case, it should be written as a follow-up communication, distributed a few days after they received their letter from you. Let them know they should have gotten your letter. Summarize the highlights of your achievements this year and add a convenient link (preferably a graphic button) allowing them to donate online. 

  • Targeted FB advertisements

    • Again, while this can be done independently of the previous two items, it is best when they work in concert.

    • You can easily upload your email lists to Facebook ads manager and it will create an audience for you that includes the Facebook profiles corresponding to those emails addresses. Again, it’s another touchpoint for your appeal.

    • Remember you can also create Facebook audiences based on people who have liked your Facebook page or who have visited your website. This “warm market retargeting” allows you to reach out again to individuals who have already shown an interest in your mission.


  • Ask supporters to hold digital fundraisers on your behalf. With the wealth of crowdfunding platforms out there, your supporters have numerous tools to fundraise on your behalf.

  • Make your end-of-year efforts front and center on your website. Include an end-of-year call to action on the home page. Use your banner, lead story, or a pop-up to drive folks to your donation page. For extra power, profile a client your organization has helped in the past year, particularly if you’ve got good pictures or video to go with the story.

  • Speaking of video, reuse the ones you already have. Whether on your website, YouTube Channel or social media posts, videos are probably the most powerful fundraising tool you have to tell the story of how your nonprofit is addressing a problem or promoting a cause. Don’t be afraid to reuse videos; the end of the year is a time for nostalgia, reflecting and reminding people of the good work you are doing every day.

  • If you don’t have video, animate your photos with a program like Animoto. There are lots of low-cost ways of transforming still images to videos, complete with beautiful graphics and music that will have even small nonprofits looking like big-budget NPOs.

  • Go live. Have computer or smart phone with a camera? Then take your end-of-year appeal live on Facebook. We recently helped a nonprofit implement this strategy and after they recorded the video with a modest $50 one-day advertising boost to their target audience, they reached over 4,284 people and had 2,511 video views. 

Whatever combination of strategies you choose to use, know that you’ll be giving your donors a chance to feel good about themselves, connect with a cause that means something to them and get a tax benefit to boot. So make your ask with both gratitude and confidence, knowing it’s not just a request for money you’re asking for, but a celebration of the great work you’ve done this year! 

Happy fundraising!