Build a Year-End Fundraising Marketing Plan in 5 Easy Steps

It’s October and the holidays will be here before you know it.

As a nonprofit, the next 2 months are a prime opportunity to set your organization up for success to hit your year-end fundraising goals.

This year, Giving Tuesday is November 27th. However, it’s estimated that nearly one-third of annual giving occurs in December, and 12% of that happens in the last three days of the year.

People like to show support at the end of the year because they:

  • Feel happier when helping others in need around the holidays
  • Want to feel like they are making a difference
  • Like to take advantage of tax deductions
  • Want to be connected to something positive

While there are many other charities and organizations vying for attention, you need to stay active and in constant communication with current and potential donors. Make sure you’re getting their attention so your organization is top-of-mind when they’re ready to donate.

Take time now to create a marketing plan that optimizes your year-end results. Check out these 5 steps to help you hit your fundraising goals:

1. Pick a goal

Choose one major goal to focus on over the next two months.

Whether it’s beating last year’s annual fundraising numbers, building a new and improved annual appeal campaign, or throwing the biggest year-end fundraising event in the history of your organization, having one goal to drive towards will help you maintain focus during the busiest time of the year.

Be as specific as possible, with a set donation goal and deadline so you can measure progress.

2. Segment your audience

Every one of your supporters is different, and they’ll respond much better to a more personalized message each time you communicate with them. They’ll be more likely to take action and donate, volunteer, or attend your event.

One of the most important tactics to apply when communicating with a large group of people is to segment your audience into smaller groups. This way, you always send the right message to the right people.

Here are some ways you can segment your audience:

  • Average gift size
  • Level of supporter (VIP donors, business sponsors, and volunteers)
  • Date of the last gift
  • First time donors

3. Craft your outreach messages

Once you have your segments established, you’re ready to craft a message that’s specific to each audience. Entice them to take action to support your cause. Check out these tips on crafting your message:

  • Keep your message short and to the point.
    • Nonprofit associations typically see the highest click rates with emails of 20 lines of text.
    • Membership organizations see the highest click rates with the amount of text between 15 and 30 lines.
  • Reference past involvement and encourage them to up their donation.
  • When possible add a video to show who is being helped and why your message matters).
  • Use individual stories and compelling examples of how their donation makes an impact.
  • Make it about them and how they’ll make a difference – use “you” and “your.”

4. Schedule & time your communications

Choose exactly when and where you’ll be communicating with your supporters. It’s best to use a variety of different channels so you can reach as many potential donors as possible.


According to Salsa Labs, email brings in in one-third of online fundraising revenue. You’ll be able to reach people directly in their inbox with a targeted message that encourages them to take action. Plus, email makes it extremely easy for your supporters to donate or register right from the email.

Many organizations will be vying for attention in the inbox so plan to send at least every two weeks.

Social media

Social media channels are a great way to boost the visibility of your emails and your organization as a whole. Social media streams move fast. Post multiple times a day to increase the chances of people seeing your post. Check out this infographic for suggestions on how frequent to post for each platform.

Tip: For email and social communications, use your reporting information to determine the best time to send and post for your organization.

Direct mail

Don’t forget about direct mail. Connect with those who may not be on social media or on your organization’s email list.

Remember, the holidays are a busy time of year for your supporters too. Send a series of three messages for your limited-time year-end campaign. This reminds people of your goal and what they can do to help your organization.

Message 1 is an announcement. Let them know what you’re trying to accomplish and the end-date of your campaign.

Message 2 is a reminder about a week before the campaign ends.
Message 3 is the last-chance reminder a day or two before the fundraising campaign ends. Let them know that time is running out to make a difference.

4. Encourage sharing

People enjoy the feeling of helping a cause, and sharing is another way they can help! Social media makes this easier than ever because they can share a post with all of their friends and followers.

For those on your email list, insert social sharing buttons so they can share your email directly on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Just be sure you’re asking them to share the information. You might say something such as “Share this email to help us spread the word!” or “Share this post with your friends to help us meet our goal of $50,000 before the end of the year!”

5. Follow-up!

Afterward, it’s important to send a “thank you” message that confirms their donation was received, but it’s important to take that a step further.

According to MobileCause, the number one reason donors don’t give again is that they weren’t notified of the impact of their donation.

Let them know where the funds are going and how exactly how they have impacted your cause.

Continue to keep them updated throughout the year so your organization stays top-of-mind the next time you’re running a fundraising campaign.

Set your organization up for success!

These five steps will keep your communications focused and progressing through the end of the year.

Make sure you don’t miss the opportunity to stand out and reach your organization’s goals. Take the necessary steps to reach new donors and ensure your end-of-year giving campaign is a success!