End of Year Essentials: The Ultimate Guide to End-Of-Year Fundraising

  • We’ve covered a lot over the past few months, from storytelling to Peer-to-Peer success and beyond. To make things a bit easier, we’ve put together a roundup of the highlights all in one place. Without further ado, here’s your guide to End-Of-Year (EOY) fundraising. 

    Plan Ahead

    First and foremost, you’ve got to get started planning as early as possible. Hopefully you’re already well underway with this stage. Create a timeline and stick to it. Know what’s expected, when, and by whom. Budget enough time and resources to get it all done, and if it looks like it’s going to be tight, this is the time to either scale back your plans or scale up your volunteer staff and other resources.

    Audit Your Data

    It’s always the right time to audit your donor database, but it’s especially important when you’re preparing for a big fundraising push, and few campaigns are bigger or more critical than EOY. A good data management system has checks in place for the basics like duplicates and misspellings. Better yet, it integrates new data from multiple sources seamlessly into your database, updating phone numbers, addresses, and job titles as well as tracking lifetime donations, preferred modes of contact, areas of interest, and other factors that allow you to personalize your communications and avoid the common pitfalls of data deterioration. If you don’t have a program that helps keep your data clean, Arreva can help.

    Segment Your Donors

    Donor segmentation allows you to target your messaging in ways it will have the most impact. Is this a first time donor? Send a thank you and a welcome. Has this donor participated in a recent campaign? Give them a sense of what you’ve achieved through their efforts and let them know about upcoming campaigns and events they might be interested in. Is this a long-time donor? Recognize their ongoing loyalty and impact in a personal way. The more you know about your donors, the better you can craft your communications to develop and solidify relationships with your donors.

    Tell Engaging Stories

    Stories are one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal. The human mind thrives on stories, and they have the power to influence how we see things in a very real way. Give your donors an individual to relate to and engage them with the details of the challenges they face and how your organization can help—or has already helped. Leave them with a sense of their place in the story; how their support makes the difference and lets you help more people more effectively; how they can be the hero just by opening their wallet and giving generously.

    Communicate Effectively

    In our post Donor Relationships 101, we learned that 25-44% of donors who become ex-donors do so because of poor communication. Communication missteps like neglecting to thank donors for their generosity, asking for too much too often, or operating on bad data can leave your donors with a bad taste in their mouths. Take care to target your communications and asks appropriately.

    Don’t Skip GivingTuesday!

    GivingTuesday is the biggest global fundraising event of the year, and has grown exponentially since its inception in 2012. In 2018 the event raised $400 million for nonprofits around the world—up from $274 million in 2017. According to the data, #GivingTuesday results in new one-time and recurring donors, attracts three to four times the number of donors as a typical calendar day, and appeals to a different segment of donors from those who give during the last three days of the year. There really is no downside to participating in this event, so plan to give it all you’ve got.

    Make Peer-to-Peer Easy

    Word of mouth is still one of the most effective ways to promote your organization, and Peer-to-Peer fundraising is all about getting the word out about your work while bringing in new donations and most importantly, new donors. P2P fundraising allows each donor to create their own fundraising page, set goals, and write a testimonial that tells friends, family, colleagues, and social media connections why they believe in your organization. Everyone who takes part in your P2P fundraising campaign or event becomes an advocate for your org and the results their donations have helped bring about. Their story inspires and influences their network to get involved. So make End-of-Year Peer-to-Peer campaigning as easy as possible for your donors and reap the rewards.

    Nurture Gold-Star Donors

    In Paying Attention to Your Special Friends, we discussed how important it is to give particular donors a sense that you value them especially—and that you need their help to succeed. This means crafting communications specific to that value and that need; it means reaching out personally when appropriate, or including personal notes. For particularly generous donors, it can mean invitations to exclusive—even one-on-one—meetings and events. So before you send out your year-end letters, be sure your board members are correctly segmented in your data (and excluded from the mailing list). Determine who else needs special handling based on gift size, volunteer history, or other factors, and take the time to treat each one as the special friend that they are. Remember the 80/20 rule. You should spend 80% of your time on the top 20% since they will in turn provide 80% of your results.

    Communicate Gratitude

    Finally, it’s important that you express thanks for every donation of every size and acknowledge the vital support your donors provide and the very real need for them to continue. Reinforce the positive outcomes your organization is creating with your donors’ help, and the fact that they are the heroes in every success story that results from your work.

    That’s a Wrap!

    With all this knowledge under your belt, you’re ready to plan and launch a successful End-Of-Year giving campaign. Remember to budget time for self care as you gear up for the big push, and encourage your colleagues to do the same. Here at Arreva, we’re wishing you  fabulously successful EOY fundraising for 2019 — and we’re here whenever you need us.


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