Year-end appeal marks the time between November and December where nonprofits make a mad dash for lofty fundraising goals. A 2019 study by the Blackbaud Institute indicated that December is the most charitable month of the year. The year’s waning months signal the season of giving and gratitude, where more people make more charitable contributions. This phenomenon in donating habits allows nonprofits to build year-end appeal to capitalize on gifts.

What exactly is year-end appeal, and how can nonprofits plan for it? As Forward Wayne County closes its November focus on Giving and Philanthropy, this blog will look into year-end appeal and some simple strategies to build it during Thanksgiving and Christmas.   

What is Year-End Appeal?

Year-end appeal is a popular fundraising tool used by nonprofits to raise funds during the last months of the year. This approach is heavily used to emphasize the giving season of November and December. Giving season has become a significant component of fundraising campaigns.

Several studies have shown that people give the most during the last two months of the year. One study found that nonprofits raised 26% of their annual revenue in December. Year-end giving has become a serious time for nonprofits, and events like Giving Tuesday and National Philanthropy Day cap it off. Giving Tuesday alone saw 3.1 billion dollars raised in the United States in 2022.

Successful Strategies

The success of a nonprofit’s year-end appeal heavily depends on the strategies it uses to create it. There is no shortage of tactics to use, and the advent of social media has increased how messages are spread throughout various audiences. However, before releasing a fundraising message to the masses, it is imperative that planning is used to create a persuasive hook and target the right audiences.

Creating the message and the specific ask

Nonprofits should spend time crafting the correct message to send to donors. Some essential details include organizational mission/purpose, community impacts, and a vision for change. Along with this, there should be a specific ask for funds included in the message to give donors an idea of the optimal giving amount. Tell a story that persuades people to donate funds.

Crafting the message should emphasize building appeal. The message should focus on how donations will help the community or constituents they serve and allow the nonprofit to enhance its impact.

Researching donors

Another step in the preparation phase is researching donors and gaining a comprehensive understanding of them. This may include looking into who has donated in the past and how much they gave each year. From that research, nonprofits should identify which segments of the community gave and identify a target audience for the year-end appeal campaign. Additionally, seeing where donors exist in the digital space could prove helpful.

Social media and other platforms

Social media and other digital platforms allow organizations to reach a diverse audience. This means nonprofits must strategically choose the medium they want their message to go out on. Utilizing every channel available can help spread messages to different audiences. Mediums like a newsletter are great ways to spread a message.

Content will play a crucial role in social media. The beauty of it is that the content can take various forms. It may be social media graphics, short videos, or blog posts. Feel free to try something new with this strategy.

While a more significant emphasis is on a digital approach, print media is still a great way to get a message out into the community. And personalized letters are still a favorite of many people.

Managing the donor campaign

Any year-end appeal campaign needs continuous management from start to finish. This can involve publishing correct information, tracking donations, checking donation links, and pushing out content. These activities should align and have a purpose contributing to the campaign’s success. 

Analyzing data at the end of the campaign is imperative to see if donor and fundraising goals were met. This can help provide benchmarks for the next campaign.   

Thanking donors

Finally, at the year’s or campaign’s end, nonprofits should express gratitude and thank their donors. This can be a simple social media post, an email blast, or a direct mail piece. These methods can help build lasting relationships with donors.

If you are feeling philanthropic this holiday season, then you may consider donation to a Wayne County nonprofit. You can find a list of some of them through the Wayne County Foundation’s Nonprofit Database.

Year-end appeal has become serious business for nonprofits and the fundraising statistics speak for themselves. Fundraising is a central function for the nonprofits sector. The strategies for raising money are limitless and every year there is always some new tactics to try.

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