The Ultimate Nonprofit’s Guide to End-of-Year Giving

For nonprofits, the end of the year can be both stressful and exciting. Let’s face it – the end of the year is crazy enough without having to worry about how to run a successful giving campaign. To help you raise more during this hectic time, OneCause has put together the ultimate guide to end-of-year giving.

Setting the Stage for End-of-Year Giving

It’s estimated that up to 31% of all giving happens in the last month of the year. Yep, blink and it’s gone! While this means that there is more money coming in than any other time of the year, it also means that more nonprofits are clamoring for the same share of donors.

It’s important to understand the target demographics. Make sure to consider:

  • 64% of all donations are made by women.
  • Marketing campaigns to Millennials versus Gen Z-ers versus Baby Boomers, and consider how they interact with technology and how that might impact your programs.
  • An online platform with all of the details about your end-of-year giving opportunities, and your #GivingTuesday messaging.

To plan and implement a well run and successful end-of-year giving program, get a running start and leverage as many available resources as possible.

Why it’s Important to Start End-of-Year Giving Campaigns Early

While planning and implementing end-of-year giving campaigns well in advance may seem like a no-brainer, nonprofits are usually scrambling at the end of the year to catch up on projected donations. This mad dash to the finish line can lead to unnecessary poorly planned and executed campaigns.

The months of November and December are two of the biggest months of the year for giving. But how can you capitalize on them? To cut through the noise early on in the game and capture donor attention, nonprofit teams can:

  • Engage with current donors to let them know about some of your upcoming campaigns and giving opportunities.
  • Send out sneak peeks of any upcoming programs to target audiences.
  • Capture the attention of new donors with creative marketing programs outside of the typical email blast.
  • Educate audiences on the impact and importance of your charitable cause well before the end of the year.
  • Be upfront about how individuals and corporations can engage with your organization.
  • Use ‘urgency’ messaging like “One day only!” or “Last chance to donate” to spur last minute donations.

Don’t worry, we get it – talking about planning is pretty easy, but actually taking action is another step. Keep reading for the nonprofit manager’s ultimate guide to building and implementing successful end-of-year giving campaigns.

The Ultimate End-of-Year Giving Guide

Step 1: Establish your end-of-year campaign goals

The best place to start when building the ultimate end-of-year giving campaign is, well, at the beginning. One of the most important points is to assess how your end-of-year campaign goals stack up against your annual donation goals.

  • Are you going to count on the end of the year to bring in the majority of donations?
  • Or are you going to supplement an already successful annual campaign?

Once the donation goals for the end-of-year campaign are solidified, it’s time for timelines. Your team should map out how you’ll engage with donors over the course of a few months (or whole year) to make sure you have maximum runway to drum up donor awareness and giving.

Having a general timeline to work from will make it easier on you and your team.

Step 2: Build out your individual campaigns, programs, and events

This is where nonprofit teams can really bring together proven strategies to increase the success of your end-of-year campaigns. Take time time to plan out how you can leverage three trusted year-end donation tactics:


While #GivingTuesday isn’t exactly a type of campaign, it’s an increasingly important part of the end-of-year fundraising cycle. Since 2011, this nation-wide movement has raised millions for nonprofit teams and has made this single day a pivotal part of any team’s end-of-year plan.

As part of your #GivingTuesday campaign, it’s a good idea to build a dedicated online giving site for information, details, and online donations. This is where your team can house #GivingTuesday content from throughout the year, create posts for donors to share, and foster an online community.

Social Media & Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

End-of-year campaigns, especially those related to #GivingTuesday, should be built to be shared on social media, increasing the number of eyes on the message and the number of potential clicks on links. In today’s social media culture, many end-of-year campaigns have the potential to become viral, and dramatically increase donation amounts.

Peer-to-peer fundraising and social engagement also works for end-of-year campaigns. These types of campaigns leverage your existing donor base to spread the word about your mission and find potential new donors across social media platforms. For end-of-year campaigns, especially around the holidays, peer-to-peer fundraising can be incredibly impactful as these campaigns are personal and emotionally engaging.

One-Time Events

More and more nonprofits are doing fall or year-end events in conjunction with their campaigns. Events that do make it on the books are often well attended and financially successful. Events can pose the perfect opportunity to open the door to in-person engagement and interaction with donors.

Step 3: Engage with donors

Once your campaigns are ready to go, it’s time to let your donors know! It’s a best practice to communicate and engage with your donor network as soon as your campaigns are finalized in order to grow excitement.

  • Leverage email marketing. Sending out targeted emails to your donor base can garner excitement for your upcoming campaigns, get the ball rolling on donations, and start building buzz.
  • Utilize Ambassadors. Recruit your most passionate supporters to help you raise more on social media. Adding Ambassadors to your campaign helps drive year-end success!
  • Consider paid social. Boost great content and stand out from the crowd on social (if you have the budget for it).
  • Reach out to local media. Spread awareness about your campaign and reach your local supporters via the local news or radio station.

Step 4: Let technology take care of the heavy lifting

This can all seem like a lot. Luckily, there are solutions available to take on some of the pressure. Nonprofit-specific fundraising platforms like OneCause help organizations work smarter and get more done on the backend so more donations can be raised for charity on the front end.

3 device image of an Online Giving Site within the OneCause Fundraising Platform

Nonprofit fundraising platforms can help teams:

  • Track ongoing goals and expectations. With all critical campaign data housed in a single platform, nonprofit teams can quickly make an impact wherever it’s needed, whether through mobile bidding, events, or online giving solutions.
  • Communicate with donors. Across all stages of a campaign – before it starts, during, and even after – online fundraising platforms help nonprofit teams communicate and engage with current donors and new audience members to build strong, lasting relationships.
  • Increase online fundraising efforts. With intuitive microsites, donation forms, and giving pages that are built specifically for individual campaigns, nonprofit teams can take the end of the year by storm without having to worry about conflicting messaging. Look for a secure online platform provider to make donating online and via mobile a breeze.
  • Find new donors via social engagement. With peer-to-peer fundraising software, nonprofits can harness the power of social fundraising to create online gamification campaigns, promote individual social fundraising programs, and increase awareness across new markets.
  • Harness the power of mobile donations. From mobile-optimized giving pages to intuitive text-to-donate solutions, modern nonprofit fundraising solutions give donors the ability to easily access and engage with end-of-year giving campaigns regardless of where they are.
  • Monitor results and metrics in real-time. Nonprofit leaders can understand the success of certain campaigns and quickly share these insights with others on the team with campaign alerts, event tracking, and real-time attendee updates.

Don’t let end-of-year giving campaigns turn your year into year-end stress. OneCause can help you make giving easy, increase donations, and deliver peace of mind.

BONUS – Your End-of-Year Giving Campaign Calendar

Are you ready to get started with end-of-year giving campaign ideas NOW? Here are some ways your team can run creative, engaging campaigns for the next few months:

Summer & Fall

Plan your campaigns and map out timelines. Start letting your donors and new audience members know what’s coming down the road with your end-of-year campaigns. Get the conversation going and build excitement.


Now is the time to put a bug in your donor’s ears. Get your end-of-year campaigns rolling with a targeted email marketing campaign. Sort out your donor list by demographics, such as age or region, and send out information about your campaigns. If you’re hosting an event in November or December, include that in your emails. If you’re running a gamification campaign, include details on how to build an account on your site.


Your November campaigns should focus heavily on #GivingTuesday. Get your message out to more individuals and corporations and increase donations by partnering with a local (or national) retailer and working out a percentage donation for Black Friday or Cyber Monday purchases. See if you can include handouts, stickers, or other giveaways in-store for even more brand recognition and exposure.


This month, use the holidays to your advantage. Go big on social media with a targeted hashtag and ask followers to share how they’re giving back over the holidays. You can even set up a prize system, such as the picture with the most likes wins a prize, to promote even more social sharing. The holidays are a popular time to be online and are a great way to squeeze in a final few days of donations before the end of the year.