Three Ways to Bolster Your Year-End Annual Giving

Nonprofit management software / By Mike Crum

Many Nonprofits rely on November and December for over 50% of their fundraising revenue. In fact, 30% of annual giving takes place in December, with 10% of annual giving happening during the last three days of the year. So, how do you make the most of end-of-year giving for your Nonprofit? And how can you do it pretty quickly and efficiently.

Three ways to bolster your year-end annual giving.

Board Members – Your board members are THE secret weapon in fundraising. Having them contact their network for donations is just one area – although it seems to always be the one area everyone focuses on most – to the detriment of Nonprofits. That is, some board members are not comfortable soliciting their contacts, but they might be willing to contact donors and prospects they don’t know. Most importantly, some board members are just not comfortable soliciting others for donations – and you need honor that!

However, this doesn’t mean board members are let ‘off-the-hook’ for fundraising. What you must do is meet your board members where they are at – meaning – if they won’t solicit then get them involved in thanking donors and promoting your Nonprofit.

Around Thanksgiving and even during December it’s a great idea to have board members phone or send personalized emails to the Nonprofit’s donors to thank the donors for their past and continued support. One thing I’ve done is to have a Thank-A-Thon where board members come to another board member’s home, armed with their cell phones and phone numbers for @ 10 donors. The key is having everyone in one place – otherwise, well, it’s just natural that board members might put off making the calls. Plus, there’s collective energy around making the calls – and knowing everyone else is making their calls makes folks more comfortable making calls.

Provide the board members with a script they can make their own, but they should always start each call, or voicemail, with, “This is THEIR NAME and I’m a board member of YOUR NONPROFIT’s NAME.” This provides a ton of credibility, plus it makes sure the donor being called doesn’t think the call is coming from a boiler room taking 40% of all fundraising revenue.

Emails – Use email marketing to design a series of 4+ emails to send to your donors and prospects. Share a story or two of beneficiaries the Nonprofit worked with during the year. Share your impact and outcomes for the year. Share plans and goals for the next year. Most of all, feature a DONATE NOW button in at least one area of the email message. You also want to remove folks who donate from receiving all the other solicitation emails. You can do this manually, or your email marketing software should be able to do it automatically. You also want to send out a “Last Chance to Give” email on @ December 30th.

Snail Mail – Sometimes donors and prospects just want to hold something in their hands – and that’s where a printed annual appeal comes in handy. Send out a one-page letter as well as a reply mechanism and reply envelope. In the letter you can also point folks to your Nonprofit’s website for online giving.

Don’t do this in-house – use a printer and mail house. Use first class stamps – which will dramatically boost your open rates (the number of donors and prospects actually opening, rather than recycling, the letter. Also, have the letter signed by one person – it’s a personal letter.

So, there are three easy steps you can take to take advantage of end-of-year giving. Take advantage of the season to raise 30%+ of your Nonprofits annual giving.


Mike Crum

Subject Matter Expert

Mike is a recognized expert, thought leader, advisor and speaker in the Nonprofit world. Over the past four decades, Mike served as an Executive Director, COO, see more

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