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10 Strategies Skyrocketing Year-End Fundraising Results in 2022
6 min to read ✭
Are you looking to grow your year-end fundraising revenue? In today’s digital world, nonprofit leaders’ biggest challenges are more of a marketing problem than a development problem – yet most causes are run by leaders that came up through development and not modern marketing.
Let’s take Anne, a senior software engineer, who enjoys volunteering in her spare time. Anne is incredibly conscious about the brands she supports and wants her hard-earned dollars to go towards causes she believes in. Anne loves technology and like most people, can’t live without her phone and is accustomed to subscription-based models.
With people like Anne, traditional fundraising methods such as coffee meetings and direct mail are outdated and ineffective. The demands of what is now required for nonprofit growth have fundamentally changed.
So, we asked ourselves, how do we promote year-end fundraising so that people like Anne will donate? By making charitable gifts inspiring again of course!
Year-End Fundraising Timeline
It’s no secret that people are the most charitable during the last month of the year. Thirty percent of all donations happen between Giving Tuesday and December 31st. You can expect 2x higher conversion rates on Giving Tuesday and New Year’s Eve, and 10x more donors on Giving Tuesday compared to an average day of the year.
The typical year-end fundraising pattern can be broken up into three phases:
- Initial Excitement starts around Giving Tuesday
- Inevitable Trough in the middle of December
- Big Finish during the last three days of the year
To give yourself ample planning and prep time, we recommend working off of the following year-end fundraising timeline:
Sept – Oct: Prepare & Analyze
- Analyze data from previous campaigns & years
- Define the campaign theme and set fundraising goals
- Start creating and testing content
- Gather incentives, secure sponsors or matches
Oct – Nov: Pre-Wire & Gratitude
- Pre-wire core constituents with gratitude and ads of impact
- Pre-wire new and warm, non-donor audiences with ads of impact
- Unlock early gifts without the big ask
- Continue to engage and attract users with regular posts
- Update donation platform
Nov: Full Launch (#GivingTuesday)
Giving Tuesday (November 29th) serves as the main launch point in what is outwardly seen as the start of year-end fundraising.
- Increase posts and promotion on social
- Launch your #GivingTuesday campaign
- Showcase the impact made, the people served & the volunteers who help
- Spread generosity
Early – Mid December: Engage
- Keep momentum building during the ‘Inevitable Trough’
End of December: Big Finish
31% of all giving occurs in December with 12% of the total in the last 3 days.
- URGENCY: Update copy to reflect the urgency
January: Follow-Up & Gratitude
- Show your appreciation! Donor stewardship is key to ensuring retention
- Share your end results and what impact that will make
- Capture last-minute donations
- Begin to analyze data and segment donors
February: Recurring Giving
- Push your momentum gained from year-end
- Nurture new and existing donors and push for a commitment or recurring gift
As nonprofit leaders, fundraisers, and marketers, we have to continuously test and invest in strategies that boost donations. To get you started, here are 10 strategies to help maximize your 2022 year-end fundraising results.
#1 Setup A Strong Analytics Foundation
You can’t improve what you aren’t measuring which is why effective tracking is mandatory. When it comes to setting up a strong analytics foundation, we encourage you to:
- Setup Google Analytics 4 – Google is sunsetting Universal Analytics (UA) and will be pushing users to GA4. Once you’ve set up GA4 asap, you can run it simultaneously with UA.
- Accurate Conversion Value Tracking – In 2022, there’s no excuse not to have conversation value tracking connected to all transactions in Analytics.
- Offline Conversion Reporting & CAPI – In an omnichannel world, utilizing offline conversion tracking gives you visibility into who has seen ads but given through another channel. If your donation platform allows it, be sure to set up the conversion API. If you’re running ads in 2022, this is the most accurate way to measure your ROI and optimize campaigns.
- Analyze 2022 Year to Date (YTD) vs. 2021 – Is your site traffic, conversions, and donations pacing ahead of 2022? If not, now is the time to course correct.
#2 Update Your Donation Software NOW
If your organization wants to grow, you should invest and update your donation software before year-end fundraising. When you provide your donors with a pleasant and seamless giving experience, the cost of the platform practically pays for itself.
Pro Tip: When vetting donation platforms, make sure it supports multiple payment options (card, ACH, venmo, paypal, crypto, etc.).
#3 Focus on Driving Recurring Giving
Every nonprofit needs recurring giving as a part of its year-end fundraising campaign. We already live in a subscription-based world and data shows that recurring giving is the way:
- Recurring gifts add predictability to your revenue stream
- Recurring donors give 42% more on average annually compared to a one-time donor
- A recurring donor is worth 5x more than a one-time donor
- A recurring donation does not lower the size of one-time gifts
If you haven’t enabled recurring giving in your org, now is the time to do so.
Pro Tip: Pay special attention in January as recurring donors are 40% more likely to churn in the first month of the year compared to any other month.
#4 Produce Compelling Creative that Converts
In today’s world, video is king. According to HubSpot’s 2022 marketing industry survey, short-form videos perform best in terms of ROI. In fact, when it comes to fundraising, a Google survey reported that 57% of people who watch a nonprofit video go on to make a donation.
When it comes to social platforms, video ads on Meta continue to outperform almost all other ad types. In addition, YouTube is the second highest trafficked site in the world, which makes YouTube ads an incredible way to help build your brand and stay top of mind during the giving season.
When it comes to producing compelling creative, copy matters! Studies show that the types of copy that performs the best are the ones that:
- Tell a story of an individual beneficiary (i.e. “Help more people experience the hope that Kevin did”.)
- Include language about a match you have available (i.e. “Your donation doubled”, “Your gift doubled”)
- Appeal to emotion to drive urgency (i.e. “Too many people die from cancer each year. Donate to give a future to more families this holiday season.”
#5 Warm Up Your Ad Audiences NOW
Remember to include current or recent donors in targeted ad campaigns. Push to keep the attention of your existing supporter through easy and inexpensive remarketing efforts such as Google Display ads, YouTube ads, and Meta ads.
#6 Run Gratitude Ad Campaigns BEFORE & AFTER the Campaign
Running ads and campaigns that say “Thank You”, both before and after your year-end fundraising campaign has a tremendous ROI. It’s a way to maximize touchpoints without actually having to make a hard ask. Trust me, your supporters will donate to them even if there isn’t a hard ask.
#7 Leverage ALL the Free Ad Spend
Don’t forget about the free ad spend you have at your disposal!
Google Ad Grants
With the Google Ad Grant, your organization gets $10,000 per month ($329 per day) in free Google Search Ads, which can help you drive consistent traffic to your website. If you haven’t applied for this yet, the turnaround time for applications is less than a week.
Microsoft Ad Grants
Another upcoming opportunity is Microsoft Ad Grants, which gives nonprofits $3,000 per month to run ads on Microsoft Advertising Partner Network (Bing, Yahoo, MSN, Outlook, Amazon Alex, and more).
#8 Test, Invest & Scale Winning Digital Ad Channels
A few go-to paid platforms include:
- Meta Ads
- Paid Google Search Ads
- Google Display Ads
- YouTube Ads
- And more!
#9 Be Bold & Creative with Your Organic Social Media Efforts
Great social media requires fast-moving, agile teams, and agile teams need trust and encouragement from leadership. For the vast majority of us, it took a pandemic to force us to take more risks in our online marketing efforts, yet these risks were often positively transformative.
Social media is a world that rewards early adopters and innovators – both on new platforms (i.e. TikTok), as well as, new features (reels, stories, live, etc.). To see what works best for your nonprofit, you have to be willing to test new things.
If you haven’t already, consider using influencers to drive engagement. Micro and nano influencers are willing and eager to help causes they care about – and they have the reach and influence to take your year-end fundraising to the next level.
#10 Increase Email Personalization, Value & Volume
Technology in 2022 allows us to create personal giving experiences like never before. It is imperative to invest in the tech needed to allow for personalization and improved stewardship at scale. Creating different audience segments based on the different journeys you want to curate will increase both conversion and retention rates over time, and allow your organization to provide more value for your different segments.