Developing a Solid Year-End Fundraising Strategy

Tribute cardsWith the end of the year quickly approaching, here’s why you need to get your organization ready:

  • 20% of all online giving happens in December;
  • The average US nonprofit raises 35% of annual income in the last 3 months of the year; and
  • The next several months are filled with important dates that help you drive donations to your organization—Thanksgiving, #GivingTuesday, Christmas, and December 31!

According to Google, 47% of donors consider giving to multiple charities during the year-end season, so it is important to develop a strategy to make your organization stand out! To help you develop a solid year-end strategy, GlobalGiving hosted a webinar on Wednesday, October 22. We were joined by guests from four of our partners– Cathy King from Canines with a Cause, Elaine McLevie from Episcopal Refugee Network of San Diego, Sinead Chilton from School on Wheels, and Cindy Ballaro from Mothering Across Continents—who shared their tips for organizations preparing to make the most of year-end fundraising.

Download the Year-end fundraising strategy worksheet to start planning now! Watch the 9 am EDT webinar recording with Cathy and Elaine here.  Watch the 3 pm EDT webinar recording with Sinead and Cindy here.

Here are some tips to start developing your strategy:

  1. Goal Setting: Assess your funding needs, consider the amount you raised last year, how to raise those funds, and use data to help make decisions!
  2. Choose the right campaign: Campaigns create a sense of urgency and adds value for your donors. GlobalGiving is offering a Year-End Campaign with $10,000 in bonus prizes in the month of December. We’re also partnering with Microsoft to offering a #GivingTuesday matching campaign for YouthSpark eligible organizations. Select a campaign that best fits your organization’s needs!
  3. Make use of GlobalGiving’s Tools: Our beautiful tribute cards make fantastic holiday gift options, our fundraiser tool allows your supporters to fundraise for your project, and the recurring donations tool encourages your supporters to make a commitment to your project!
  4. Set objectives: GlobalGiving loves organizations that learn! Use the year-end campaigns to learn about your organization’s strengths and weaknesses, what communication methods worked best and much more.
  5. Choose fundraising captains: Create fundraising captains out of trusted supporters to help share the fundraising burden. Include them in your planning and provide them with information, tools and materials to succeed such as handy FAQ sheets that they can use to answer questions about your organization. Word-of-mouth advertising works best!
  6. Identify your network: Identify the different donor groups in your network and the different ways to reach out to them. E-mails might work well for some, while picking up the phone might work better for others!
  7. Develop an outreach strategy: Multi-channel fundraising works – communicate via different methods, capitalize on community and holiday events, and create non-monetary incentives to spur engagement. Get creative!
  8. Create a calendar: Important deadlines, goals and holidays help to keep your organization on track and focused on the important tasks.
  9. Create talking points: Great project reports, videos and photos help to keep your supporters engaged. Join Will Frechette, GlobalGiving’s Digital Marketing Specialist for a webinar:

Year-End Communications
Date: Wednesday, October 29
Times: 9 am EDT (Find this time in your city) and 3 pm EDT (Find this time in your city)
Webinar link:
Sign up here.

Check out these tips from GlobalGiving’s partners:

canines with a causeCathy King from Canines with a Cause:

  • Send project reports on a monthly basis with compelling stories & good quality, emotional photos
  • Always thank your donors – make them feel special no matter the size of their donation
  • Tell donors about campaigns – they love when their dollars go further
  • Encourage recurring donors as they provide a steady source of income
  • Get supporters to create fundraisers for your projects– Canines for a Cause has 11 active fundraisers!
  • Make your communications personal –Canines with a Cause invites veterans in the program to write personal stories for reports and thank you notes

Elaine McLevie from Episcopal Refugee Network of San Diego:

  • Divide up your donor network and reach out to them with the right communication method
  • Maintain contact internally among your staff and volunteers to ensure that everyone is aligned on your goals and challenges
  • Contact your donors early so that they give early
  • Watch the GlobalGiving leaderboards for any last minute donation activity that might pinch those bonus awards from under your nose!
  • Videos and photos are very important to keep your supporters engaged, but be mindful of beneficiary privacy!

Sinead Chilton from School on Wheels:

  • bussyDevelop a consistent theme and message—School on Wheels used the slogan “Help Bussy stay warm this winter.” and an image of a school bus that had been used in previous communications to anchor the campaign.
  • Ask for a specific amount—School on Wheels told their donors they need to raise $5,000 and asked for $10 or more.
  • Use social media and your website to promote—consider a pop up on your website for your campaign!
  • Matching money works! School on Wheels found a generous donor who agreed to match donations to their year-end fundraising efforts. This motivated other donors to give.

Cindy Ballaro from Mothering Across Continents:

  • Set up a timeline in early November – Set up GlobalGiving project, website call out, email sends, social media messaging.
  • Give reminders—5 email messages, weekly Facebook posts, and last minute phone calls.
  • Offer incentives – Donors who gave $100 received a t-shirt.
  • Respond to challenges with transparency – When violence broke out in South Sudan, Mothering Across Continents shared the news with their supporters, who continued to give.

Please feel free to email us at if you have any questions and we will be glad to assist!

This post was written by Lucius Lee, Program Team Intern. 


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