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Year-End Appeals: Nontraditional Ways to Leverage the Traditional Donor’s Giving Cycle

year end appeals

The flurry of year-end fundraising activity by donors, often linked to tax credits, is an incentive for your donors to support your organization.

year end appeals

According to the Blackbaud Charitable Giving Report, overall giving is highest in December and it’s never too early to start planning your year-end appeal for December!

It’s vital that organizations create a fundraising strategy to make the most of this time of year. Determining how you reach out to donors is by far the most important piece.

These days, it seems like organizations are only focused on promoting their fundraising campaigns on social media. While online communities like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are great ways to raise awareness and encourage donors to give, they aren’t the only ways organizations can achieve fundraising success.

Organizations need to diversify their communication methods so their solicitations reach as many people as possible.

Here are a four ideas for mixing the traditional ask with nontraditional methods:

  1. Direct mail
  2. Email
  3. Phone calls
  4. Text messages

Let’s jump right into the first idea: direct mail solicitations!

Direct Mail

Supplement with your direct mail solicitations with Text2Give®! The Text2Give® platform enables you to easily share your call-to-action (CTA) anywhere! Whether you include your keyword and 6-digit number (Text KEYWORD to 243-725) or the friendly URL (, introducing Text2Give® is a breeze.

Plus, you’re providing 2 donation platforms—text message and online via friendly URL—which gives your donors options and your organization a greater chance at securing donations.

Be conscious of when to send your letters to your mailers. Many say mid-December is too late; consider sending a week or two before the Thanksgiving holiday!


Supplement your emails with online giving! Current OneCause fundraising software clients can set-up a Giving Center and start collecting online donations at no additional cost.

Since your organization is likely launching an email series (not just a one-off email), you have the opportunity to highlight specific donation initiatives in each email.

For example,  you could say:

A $10 donation provides a week of meals to a child in need [insert link here to specific package on Giving Center], but $20 feeds a family for a week [insert link here].

Create as many unique donation packages in your Giving Center as you’d like to attract donors and optimize impact giving.

Phone Calls

Update your website so you can easily direct donors to where they can give! Include very clear CTAs linking to either your online donation page or Text2Give® mobile site. To make donation instructions as easy as possible, verbally send the supporter to your main webpage. From there, they will be prompted to donate via your designated online platform.

Alternatively, direct the individual to any one of your social media profiles. The goal here is two-fold. Your supporter will see your year-end appeal posts and CTAs. But your supporter may also choose to friend/follow your organization, ensuring they will stay updated in the future for all fundraising campaigns. After all, 59% of people donate after becoming a follower of a nonprofit’s social network.

Text Messages

Sending year-end appeals via text message is also a great way to encourage donors to give. Since 98% of text messages are opened in the first three minutes, you’ll be able to get your donors’ attention.

However, just because text messages have a high open rate, that doesn’t mean you can slack on the content. Use a text-to-give service to: 

  • Accept donations via text message and mobile-friendly donation forms.
  • Send videos and other visuals that show your nonprofit in action to encourage donations.
  • Engage with donors via text message by asking questions.

Include links to your mobile-friendly donation forms in your text message solicitations so that supporters can give right from the convenience of their smartphones.

The idea is to make it easy on your donors. To inspire them to give, not guilt them! And as always, include your organization’s tax ID number in donation receipts.

year end appeals


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alumni fundraising tipsJune 2016 Newsletter