The charitable giving season arrives each year with the holidays in tow. And as the year comes to a close, people often feel inspired to practice generosity. Accelerating your online fundraising efforts at the end of the year can pay off. According to the Digital Giving Index, in 2015, about 30 percent of all annual giving occurred in December. There are several reasons people decide to donate at the end of the year. Most notably, the holiday season motivates people to give back to those in need. And second, many donors receive immediate tax benefits from end of year giving.
If you are running a crowdfunding campaign or plan to launch one soon, you can learn how to use the charitable season to your advantage. By creating an end of year giving campaign plan, you can maximize donations to your online fundraiser.
Establish a Clear Goal
The first step is deciding the goal you wish to meet by the time the ball drops on New Years Eve. For some, the desired outcome may be to raise at least half of the overall fundraising goal. For others, it may be getting your campaign featured in local media, planning an offline fundraising event, or finding a donor who is interested in matching donations. Make sure it is realistic for the given timeline. Once you have decided your goal, use it as the foundation for the rest of your strategy.
Pay Attention to #GivingTuesday
Since 2012, the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday is entirely dedicated to giving back to others. Giving Tuesday emerged as a way to combat the consumerism that the holiday season drives. Utilize this day to kick start your end of year giving campaign for your online fundraiser. Aligning your campaign with Giving Tuesday is a motivator for potential donors.
Fine Tune Your Fundraiser
Before you kick off your end of year giving efforts, you want to make sure your fundraiser is up-to-date. Add new, high quality photos, and consider creating a video to interest potential donors. Reread your campaign description to make sure it is telling your story in an accurate and captivating way. Being honest and tugging at the heartstrings of donors compels them to give, especially when they feel a connection to the story itself.
Year End Fundraising Ideas
Your end of year giving campaign should have a ‘wow factor’ to strike the attention of potential donors. Consider these ideas if you want to make a big splash.
1. Social Media Contest
If you want to create a lot of buzz online, organize a social media contest. Host a video contest or have a caption writing contest- anything to get people engaged with your fundraiser. Using social media is a great way to build your fundraising community.
2. Matching Donor
Finding a person or a business to match your donations is a guaranteed way to improve your fundraiser’s chances of success. This is where you can use Giving Tuesday as a way to motivate potential matching donors. A local business may be more inclined to offer you matching donations if it is in the spirit of this giving holiday.
3. Fundraising Event
Hosting an offline fundraising event can help spread awareness while gaining supporters. These events can offer a time to connect with your donors on a personal level. There are several fundraising event ideas, but try to find one that fits well with your fundraiser.
Promote Your Year-End Giving Campaign
The final step you need to take is finding a way to share your story with potential donors. This should involve a promotion strategy that utilizes several forms of communication from snail mail to social media. Here are the channels you should consider using with tips to maximize your reach.
People tend to check their email every day, which is why it makes an ideal channel for promotion. After you have put together an email list, it is time to craft your message. It can be beneficial to start with one email that introduces your year-end giving campaign clearly. Then follow up with a reminder email a week or two later. Make sure to keep your emails informative, but simple and concise.
2. Year-End Fundraising Letter
Writing an end of year fundraising letter can be a great way to drum up support. In your letter, point out how your cause is going to benefit an individual or even an entire community. Donors want to know that their contribution will have a direct impact. When writing, keep in mind that the letter should have a conversational tone while still appealing to potential donor’s emotions.
3. Social Media
From Facebook to Twitter and Snapchat, there is no shortage of social media platforms that you can use to enhance your promotion efforts. It is strategic to create a schedule of when, what, and where you will post. There are several social media fundraising tools to help make your posts stand out. Consider coming up with a custom hashtag so your supporters can follow your efforts.
4. Local Media Outreach
Getting the local media to cover your fundraiser is a sure fire way to increase awareness exponentially. You can get the attention of local reporters by writing a press release for your fundraiser. Do your research on local media outlets you wish to contact. And use these tips for writing an effective press release.
Thank Your Supporters
The key to maintaining a good relationship with your donors is keeping the line of communication open. On top of responding to Facebook comments or questions, it is crucial to acknowledge your donors for their support. You can reach out to your supporters via social media or you can get more personal by writing donation thank you letters. If you maintain good relationships with your donors, they will be more likely to support you in any future fundraisers you might create.