Non-Profits: 7 Marketing Tips to Engage Donors for Year-End Giving


‘Tis the season for end of year giving. As the year ticks to a close, non-profits know that donors open their wallets. Securing end-of-year giving is critical to start next year off on the right foot. It’s the most generous time of year for many donors who are eager to give before they close out this year’s taxes.

Use these 7 marketing tactics to reach out to your donors and ensure you make their “nice list” this year-end giving season.

1. Make a Personal Connection

Engage your donors with campaigns that speak to them. Warm fuzzies are big: you’re looking to make them feel important, connected and involved. Let each donor know their gift has made your holiday season special and how their donation will help make next year great, too. Be sure to let them know EVERY GIFT COUNTS, from the platinum supporters to those who can only afford a small gift.

2. Don’t Wait…Reach Out NOW

To make your end-of-year giving plan a success, reach out to donors NOW. Give them a chance to donate on #GivingTuesday (the Tuesday after Thanksgiving). Help your donors realize WHY your non-profit is a great spot for their end-of-year donations. Focus on holiday giving (Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year, etc.) and give it to them straight: it’s a perfect moment for your donors to continue to support your organization, return if their donations have lapsed, or start to give for the first time.

3. Social & Email Marketing are Your Friends

Every great marketing plan starts with raising awareness and promotion, before you start your campaign for consideration. Reach out to your potential donors, lapsed donors, friends and followers on social media. Increase your tweets, posts, emails and points of contact.

NOW is the time to launch your targeted email marketing campaign. Touch donors and constituents with emails providing helpful tips, interesting facts and useful information, and engage them with stories and wrap them in the mission of your organization. A weekly or bi-weekly email will ensure your donors feel reconnected but not overloaded. Supplement your email campaign with robust social media posts. Automate your posts, if you must, so you can manage the frequency, but carefully monitor as well.

4. Don’t Rule Out Direct Mail

Should you go the direct mail route, keep on top of industry best practices and use them at your disposal so your letters and mail pieces really stand out. All mail should be brand-consistent, catchy and capture a story or convey a message to your donors right away. Show them how necessary those end-of-year dollars are and tell them exactly how you plan to steward their gift and put it to good use.

5. Ensure Your Website is User-Friendly

It is absolutely critical your website is user-friendly with a BIG donation button, especially during this busy season.

If a potential donor stumbles onto your site from your Facebook post, your Twitter feed, or through a link in your email campaign, you must make it crystal clear and convenient for them to donate.

Read more: End the Year with a Bang: 5 Ways to Rock Your Non-Profit Donation Page.

Your website should have a clear call-to-action. This is where engagement and acquisition take place. Offer multiple convenient ways for your donors to give. Consider PayPal, credit cards and any other methods you can promote to make it easier and faster to make gifts. You should include your call to action in every post, every email and in your direct mail campaign.

6. Your Stories are the #1 KEY to More Donations

Your site should be consistent with your brand, tell your non-profit’s stories and showcase all the great ways you serve your community. Use video, photos, quotes and testimonials that warm the heart and connect. Stories that reflect your mission, vision and values make strong and powerful cases for support. Our brains are hard-wired to respond to stories—especially when we’re charity-focused and thinking of goodwill towards mankind.

7. Love & Appreciate Your Donors

When a donor takes the time to give to your organization, they should feel like Bruce Wayne, Bill Gates, and Oprah all rolled into one. Even if it’s a small gift, every donor needs to know that the time they took to give was noticed and appreciated. Repeat donations happen because the giver feels they were acknowledged and sees the impact of their donation.

Retention should be a major part of your end-of-year plan. Don’t put it off until January. Keep those donors! Thank them for their one-time gift and offer them the chance to make it a gift all year long. For some donors, a thousand dollar one-time gift seems daunting, but an $83 gift each month is much easier to manage. Give your donor easy ways to repeat their performance and give again and again.

Create opportunities for advocacy with your message. Never underestimate the power of a hand-written thank you, a phone call from a board member or even a personalized email. Include a story about the impact that the donor’s gift has had on your organization and how you couldn’t accomplish your goals and achieve without it. Tell your donors all the ways their gift keeps on giving.

With a little time and attention you can rock your year-end giving campaign. Keep yourself focused on the stages of marketing: awareness, consideration, acquisition, retention and advocacy. We call it Growth Cycle Marketing and it’s just as critical for non-profits as it is in the for-profit world. Keep your message mission-focused and use an organized strategic plan to ensure your end-of-year giving campaigns are successful!



Growth Cycle Marketing: A proven process for growing and attracting more customersToday, the decision to donate is no longer a moment–it’s a process. Are you truly connecting with your donors? Are you engaging with your donors before, during, and even after they donate?

Not sure? You need to know HOW…now. Get a jump start by downloading our FREE White Paper on Growth Cycle Marketing.

You’ll learn:
  • 14 ways to engage your donors and nab that next donation
  • How to influence your donor’s decision to donate
  • Why your current donors are your organization’s biggest asset
  • The exact type of content your donors want
  • How this proven, 5-stage process attracts new donors and grows your donation pot


8 Great 2015 Online Non-Profit Fundraising Resolutions

Happy New Year! The New Year is a great time to get a fresh start on your online non-profit fundraising. Here are your 2015 New Year’s resolutions to ensure your online non-profit fundraising is as successful as possible.

8 Great 2015 Online Non-Profit Fundraising Resolutions

1. I resolve to start the year off with a plan.
Look at your marketing plan for the year. What’s that? You haven’t really written it out yet? Go through your calendar month-by-month or quarter-by-quarter and map out your goals and your campaigns for the upcoming year. Be sure to schedule board meetings and visits, time to start working on your annual report, and each of your media goals.

2. I resolve to hold capital campaigns each quarter, around holidays and events.
Consider your organization’s major events, milestones, holiday observances and other times of year when your donors have your organization top of mind. Each quarter, use these events as a strategic opportunity to send out a targeted email marketing campaign. Don’t miss these opportunities—you already have a theme and a focus in the bag. You’ll keep those gifts rolling in all year long!

3. I will commit to donor appreciation and recognition.
Make 2015 the Year of the Donor. Add donor names to your website. Send those personal emails. Find ways to make your donors feel recognized and special. If you send out an online newsletter, be consistent and always include a section thanking donors, volunteers and contributors. Stewardship breeds repeat donations.

4. I will document stories and boost my story file.
Inspiring and poignant stories bring your organization to life on the web and show donors why their support is so vital. Resolve to add more stories to your website—and be sure to get those pictures up, too! If you haven’t created a story folder where you capture every tidbit and wonderful heartwarming morsel that goes on at your organization, NOW is the time to start. When it comes time to work on your annual report or face your fall giving season, your story file will save you tons of time and energy.

5. I will discover which tools work well and COMMIT.
If it ain’t broke….well, you know the rest. If a particular tool is working well for your organization, commit to using it to the fullest degree. Constantly switching out your toolkit causes delays on your website and you risk letting donors fall through the cracks (not to mention a mutinous staff)!

6. I resolve to diligently amp up my social media.
When it comes to online non-profit fundraising, social media is your BFF. Figure out a way to manage your content. That might mean hiring help, implementing a scheduling program or even streamlining your social media. (Do you really need to be on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook AND Twitter?) Whatever platforms you use, make it your goal to consistently offer up quality content. Social media is a reality in today’s world, so if you’re ignoring it or letting it slip you’re losing your donor audience.

7. I will update all of my contacts from those holiday mailings.
You know those email addresses that kicked back to you as undeliverable? That pile of “return to sender” envelopes on your desk? Well, now’s the time to get those updates in your database and start the year out right! Keeping updated records shows your donors you really care enough to keep things personal. Plus, you ensure you’re not any wasting time on your next correspondence.

8. I resolve to keep my eyes open for new ideas, partners, campaigns and crowd funding opportunities.
2014 was the year of the viral campaign. (Ice Bucket Challenge, anyone?) Smart non-profits identified this opportunity and were able to participate and learn from it. Keep your eyes open for the next big industry idea. Read online forums and subscribe to blogs and newsletters. Keep up your connections with partner organizations, matching campaigns and other resources.

Make 2015 your best year yet by ramping up your online non-profit fundraising!

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8 Great 2015 Online Non-Profit Fundraising Resolutions