While the last two months of the year are busy for almost every business and organization, non-profits have the additional challenge (and major opportunity) of creating GivingTuesday and/or end-of-year giving campaigns.
Depending on the scope of the specific project, designing and executing a giving campaign can be a big task involving the creation of graphics and messaging, utilizing multiple communication channels, and rallying people from various corners of your organization to get it all done. When I worked at a large nonprofit, we would start planning how to weave our end-of-year giving campaign into the organization’s many varied communication streams in early-to- mid-November at best. (We always seemed to be running right up to the deadline because, as you probably know, there’s always so much going on at a nonprofit.)
To help you make this year a success, I’ve gathered a few tips and tricks our team has learned through the years about executing a giving campaign in the last six weeks of the year.
About GivingTuesday and End-of-Year Campaigns
First things first, let’s talk about the specifics of GivingTuesday and end-of-year giving for nonprofits.
After the rush of Black Friday sales and the craze of Cyber Monday deals, GivingTuesday is often an afterthought for people. There are just so many good deals and such a push to get gift buying taken care of that people often don’t think about also allocating money to a cause they believe in.
GivingTuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. (You can read more about their mission here.) As a nonprofit, you can use the day to draw your community together, amplify your mission, and invite people to support. You could even consider using the day as the launch of your end-of-year giving campaign.
This year GivingTuesday happens on Tuesday, Nov. 28.
End-of-Year Giving Campaigns
At the end of the year, people are often looking to do some good in their community and give back. According to certain fundraising statistics, 35% of all giving happens in the last three months of the year and 12% of all giving happens in the last three days of the year. For a number of reasons, including taking advantage of tax benefits, people are looking to give in November and December. With this in mind, nonprofits have massive potential to raise funds for their organization or a specific initiative in the last two months of the year.
6 Tips for Simplifying Your Campaign
With that in mind, let’s talk about six ways you can simplify the work you have ahead of you in creating giving campaigns for the end of 2023.
- Set a deadline for choosing an initiative.This may mean reminding your board or leadership team that decisions need to be made by a certain date in early or mid-November. Remind them there’s a lot of work that comes after their decisions — and you’re ready to get to it! From designing special graphics, writing the messaging, creating a video and/or webpage, and working with your finance department to make sure everything is in place on their end, you’ll need time to make the campaign shine.
- Make a communication plan. Your end-of-December self will thank you for taking the time now to plan out when and how you’ll talk about your giving campaign. Do you want to add a blurb about the campaign in the email your organization sends out every Friday? Maybe you’d like to create a special email that talks about your end-of-year giving drive and directs people to a webpage with more information; you could send that email out two or three times between now and the end of December. Do you want to design a series of social media posts or print handouts with details to give people at meetings or meetups? There are so many possibilities. Gather some people from your team and take a couple hours to sketch it all out.
- Remember that you’re inviting people into something. This is an opportunity for people to support an organization they likely already care about a great deal while receiving great benefits in the process. Keep your language open, welcoming and clear-eyed about the vision of the organization and/or this special initiative. And repeat your message multiple times — studies say people have to hear something seven times before acting on it.
- Talk specifically about what people will be giving towards. The more you can help people envision what their donation will be accomplishing — buying school supplies for kindergarten classes at a specific elementary school, furnishing the apartment of a single mom, creating a new summer program for children to learn about and experience art, for example — the more people can connect to the campaign and understand their potential impact. Give people specifics they can get excited about.
- Make giving easy. In every promotional material you send people, make sure to include a direct link to where they can donate. Also include any directions people need for donating stocks, bonds, real estate, etc. Have several people read through the directions to make sure they’re easy to follow. The last thing you’d want is to lose a donation because someone couldn’t figure out how to give it.
- Don’t depend on the last week of December for major messaging. Many people take the week between Christmas and New Year’s off. They’re away from their normal routines and possibly checked out from email and social media — a real holiday haze. While it’s true that up to 13% of all giving can come in the last few days of the year, people likely need to already have the idea of giving to your nonprofit in their mind before December 28. That’s why planning ahead is important. Look at your calendar now and decide when you’ll send emails, do social media pushes, put something in the mail, etc. and build a message people hear/learn throughout the month. Make sure you’ve started your campaign long before the last week of the year and then send a reminder or two in the last week to finish the campaign.
Bonus: Two Things to Do in the New Year
- Once the funds are fully collected, share the total with your audience and thank them for giving.
- Give updates in the months that follow when the money is actually put to use. Showing along with telling continues to communicate that your nonprofit organization can be trusted with people’s donations.
The Cause Agency Knows About Fundraising for Worthy Causes
Creating campaigns that encourage people to give to nonprofits is all in a day’s work for our team. We’re a unique nonprofit marketing agency working for nonprofits. If you’re ready for some outside marketing expertise for your nonprofit, contact our team here or call us at 817-335-0101.