Raising The Bar: How to Elevate The Year-End Giving Season

Raising The Bar: How to Elevate The Year-End Giving Season

The clock is ticking, and the end of the year is quickly approaching. For fundraisers, this isn’t a countdown to relaxation. Rather, it’s the prime time to rally supporters and make final strides toward their annual revenue goals, so ‘tis the season for nonprofit fundraising!

This guide shares tips for strengthening your nonprofit’s year-end fundraising campaigns

The holiday season is the happiest and most generous time of year. According to year-end giving research, nonprofits receive up to 22% of their total annual fundraising in December. Donors tend to feel extra charitable during year-end due to the holiday spirit and a desire to make tax-deductible donations before the year wraps up.

Given how vital these final few months are, nonprofits prepare their year-end giving campaigns all year long, which means it’s now or never to finalize your final fundraising strategy for this year. 

If you’re scrambling to nail down a plan, we’re here to help! We’ll share some of our favorite tips and tricks to elevate the year-end giving season, including:

  • Sell Items People Can Enjoy With Loved Ones.
  • Sell Holiday eCards.
  • Host Year-End Events.
  • Promote Matching Gifts to Drive Year-End Results.

Fundraising is a marathon, and 2023’s race isn’t over yet! The final months of the year can make or break your annual fundraising goals, and we’ve got the strategies you need to finish strong.

Sell Items People Can Enjoy With Loved Ones.

While direct donations are a reliable revenue stream, offering products allows nonprofits to engage supporters in a way that isn’t purely transactional. It adds another layer to the donor-organization relationship.

By offering items that can be enjoyed with loved ones or given as presents, your nonprofit can align the act of purchasing with the spirit of giving. Not only will your supporters be buying a thoughtful treat or other item for friends and family to enjoy, but they’ll also be supporting your cause.

Here are a few of our favorite items that can be given as presents or otherwise enjoyed with loved ones:

  • Cookie dough: A blazing fire, a cup of hot chocolate, and the scent of cookies in the air is the coziest holiday atmosphere. Organize a cookie dough fundraiser and sell tubs of cookie dough to your supporters. Alternatively, you can have team members bake cookies and offer the treats at a holiday bake sale
  • Gourmet popcorn: Bags of gourmet popcorn make a great holiday treat to gift or enjoy with family members. With plenty of flavors, donors can pick whichever ones they’ll enjoy most. They can go with a sweet buttery caramel or a savory cheddar jalapeño.
  • Candles: Help transform donors’ homes into a cozy oasis with high-quality candles. With an ABC Fundraising candle fundraiser, you can sell cozy holiday scents like Baked Apple Pie, Cinnamon Apple, and Warm Home.
  • Discount cards: A discount card fundraiser will allow supporters to receive discounts on meals and merchandise around the community. They can wrap up their holiday shopping or pick up a meal to enjoy with family, all while supporting your cause.

Selling items ideal for gifting enables your nonprofit to offer a win-win scenario for your cause and its supporters. Plus, when someone receives a gift that supports your nonprofit, it’ll prompt conversations about your mission, potentially helping to attract new supporters.

Sell Holiday eCards.

Nothing warms people’s hearts during the holiday season quite like heartfelt greeting cards. Spread awareness for your cause and raise money by selling holiday eCards to your supporters. In exchange for their donation, donors can send a card that highlights your cause to loved ones, making your eCards the perfect gift. 

Since this fundraising idea takes place online, it requires minimal overhead. Plus, instant deliverability is perfect for anyone scrambling for a last-minute gift. eCardWidget’s holiday eCards explainer page shares that you can even incorporate your colors and logo into your designs to cultivate brand awareness.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Design a holiday eCard collection with an eCard platform. To cater to as many donors as possible, create digital greeting cards for various holidays. It doesn’t matter if it’s Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, or New Year’s. Every supporter will have a card they can send.
  2. Publish the cards to your website or fundraising eStore. Depending on your platform, you can sell donation cards for specific amounts in your online store or post them on your website to let donors choose custom donation amounts.
  3. Donors can purchase their favorite cards. Once they donate or buy the card, they’re free to send it to their loved ones.

It’s that simple! Be sure to market the opportunity proactively to skyrocket your card sales. Share previews of your eCards on social media and in your newsletter, explaining that each purchase’s proceeds will support your cause. You might even encourage people to request that their loved ones purchase a card and give a tribute donation in their name as a thoughtful gift!

Host Festive Year-End Events.

Bring your community together by organizing events tailored for year-end giving. These events offer an opportunity to recognize donors’ impact and celebrate your cause. To kickstart the brainstorming process, here are some holiday-themed event ideas that will drive results at year-end:

  • Holiday Gala: Host a festive gathering with holiday decorations, themed food, and live music. To make the final push toward your fundraising goal, raise money by implementing ticketed entry, hosting a silent auction, or organizing a raffle. Entertain your guests with live music and a program summarizing your organization’s year.
  • New Year’s Eve Countdown Party: Reflect on the past year and look forward to the new year with this fundraiser. This ticketed event can feature live music, dancing, and a countdown to the New Year (and final donations). 
  • Festive Fun Run: Host a festive holiday run to get people up and moving for your cause. Charge a participation fee and offer fun incentives like reindeer ears or jingle bells for shoes. Re:Charity’s holiday fundraiser guide suggests giving your race a catchy name like Reindeer Run, Turkey Trot, or Jingle Jog. To raise even more, have participants collect pledges from friends and family to support their efforts.

Holiday events are a wonderful way to come together, celebrate your hard work, and make the final push toward your annual fundraising goals. Try out one of these popular events or brainstorm other exciting themes for your community.

Promote Matching Gifts to Drive Year-End Results.

Corporate giving programs make up a sizeable portion of nonprofit fundraising. Matching gifts in particular can go a long way in inspiring larger donations, strengthening supporter relationships, and making individual donations go further. In fact, donation matching research shows that 84% of surveyed individuals said they’re more likely to donate if a match is offered. Plus, 1 in 3 donors indicated they’d give a larger gift if they knew matching would be applied.

If you’ve never heard about matching gifts, the concept is simple. Companies implementing this program pledge to match their employees’ donations to nonprofits. These programs often have requirements regarding employee eligibility, nonprofit eligibility, and minimum and maximum match amounts.

Many companies set deadlines for the end of the calendar year, so now is the perfect time to educate your audience. Not to mention, promoting this opportunity may result in additional individual contributions during the final months of the year.

Donors are already giving to your nonprofit, so why wouldn’t they want to double their impact at no extra cost to them? Reach out to match-eligible donors and post on social media about the power of matching gifts to spread the word. A matching gift system can help you locate and follow up with any match-eligible donors. You can push more matches to completion, resulting in greater results during year-end.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re fundraising for an animal shelter, your school, or a global disaster relief organization, choosing the right year-end fundraising strategies is vital.

Remember, the holidays are also a time of reflection and thanks. They allow nonprofits to reflect on their generous donors and look ahead to next year. No matter which fundraisers you choose, celebrate your supporters by sending thoughtful donor thank-you letters that let them know you appreciate their support. To elevate your acknowledgments, you might even repurpose your holiday eCards by sending them to donors alongside your letters.

As you make your final fundraising pushes, keep the strategies we covered in mind. They may be just what you need to blow your annual fundraising goals out of the water.