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Year End Giving: The Step-by-Step Guide for Nonprofits

Learn successful year end giving tips and strategies to
increase end of year donations.

The big successful year end giving campaign push

FREE INFOGRAPHIC: The end of the year is near and it’s the single biggest fundraising opportunity for all nonprofits!

Here are 5 steps to help you capture interest of supporters’ and double your impact for your year-end giving campaign.

The end of the year is around the corner—the single biggest fundraising opportunity of the year! This guide will show you how to create a year end fundraising campaign that will effectively reach the hearts and wallets of donors during this spike in end of year donations.

From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve American generosity skyrockets, causing people to be more generous with their time and money and to make donations, volunteer, and help raise support for causes they care most about.

Donors get involved with nonprofits over the holidays for four primary reasons:

  1. To be happier by helping others
  2. To feel good about themselves by making a difference
  3. To be connected to something positive
  4. To take advantage of tax deductions

There are three steps to a year end giving campaign: plan your strategy, implement best practices, and promote and coordinate your year end appeal across all channels.

During the planning phase, nonprofits should segment their donors based on their communication preferences and how they prefer to give. Once the end of the year giving campaign goes public, the remaining fundraising goal will be met by following the next steps of following best practices and promoting across all channels.

Step 1: Plan Your Year-End Giving Campaign Strategy

Target Donor Demographics

Segment communications to engage donors and reach new ones

One of the most effective ways to breakout of the noise is creating segmentation in your communications. Different age groups respond to different messaging and on different platforms.

The important thing to remember before moving forward with your end of the year giving strategies is that not everyone should be receiving the same message. Your organization should be delivering the appropriate year end appeal that resonates with the donor on a personal level.

Here is some helpful information on your different donors:

Millennials: Age 22-36 donors are most likely to donate via mobile, watch campaign videos, and prefer to give via crowdfunding. These supporters respond to text and are active daily on social media.

Generation X: Age 37-51 donors are most likely to fundraise on behalf of your organization, make a pledge, and volunteer. These supporters respond to email, phone calls and texts and stay up-to-date on social feeds and trends.

Baby Boomers: Age 52-66 donors are most likely to make recurring gifts. These supporters respond to phone calls, check email regularly, and are mainstream adopters of text messaging and social media.

Greatest Generation: Age 67 and up donors are most likely to respond to direct mail and give by check. Wealthy seniors are more likely to own smartphones and donate by credit card.

 year end charitable giving

Double Your Impact for Year-end Giving Webinar

Learn how to create an effective year-end giving plan and identify ways to use matching gifts, so your organization can raise more money during this season of giving.

Double Your Impact for Year-end Giving Webinar

Learn how to create an effective year-end giving plan and identify ways to use matching gifts, so your organization can raise more money during this season of giving.

Year-End Fundraising Campaign Goal Planning

Set specific goals for year-end fundraising and donor engagement.

Fundraising and donor engagement campaigns with specific goals consistently outperform those that have open-ended objectives. Think about what your mission is and what you are trying to accomplish at the end of the year within your organization.

A clear-cut focus will make it that much easier for you to succeed.

Primary goals:

  • Existing donors: Increase year-over-year donation amount by 1%
  • New donors: Inspire new supporters to receive your newsletter, subscribe to your social
    media channels and sign up for your next event

Supplemental goals:

  • Recurring gifts: Encourage donors to give year round instead of one-time
  • Ambassadors (those who help raise donations and for your cause): Inspire ambassadors to contact everyone in their social circle
  • Volunteers: Increase engagement among volunteers
  • Social media followers: Mobilize social media followers to increase event participation
 year end giving strategies

Year-End Giving Statistics Every Fundraiser Should Know


All annual donations occur in December


All annual donations occur on the last 3 days of the year


Of nonprofits start planning their year-end appeal in October

Integrated End of the Year Campaign Branding

Every donor touchpoint should have a consistent look and feel.

Branded campaigns raise 38% more (Source: MobileCause Online Giving Best Practices) donations than ones and these donors are 66% more likely (Source: MobileCause Beginner’s Guide to Online Fundraising) to become repeat donors for your nonprofit. Sit down with your team to ensure that every element of your year-end campaign ties together and creates a seamless experience with increased levels of donor engagement along the way!

Also note, 57% of online donors (source: MobileCause Fundraising Video 6) make a gift after watching a video, making it the most effective form of media.

Brand identity elements that are specific to your campaign:


Campaign Name

Get creative so that you stand out


Logo and colors

Increase awareness with a visual identity



Have a unique and consistent tone



Capture the essence of your mission



Show people why your mission matters



Quotes from program recipients

 year end giving campaign branding

Storytelling to Inspire Year End Charitable Giving

Share and promote videos, photos and testimonials without asking for money.

Showcase the impact of of your mission to prime donors for future calls-to-action. Always follow the 3-to-1 rule which is to share 3 pieces of compelling content before asking for a donation.

Also note, 57% of online donors (source: MobileCause Fundraising Video 6) make a gift after watching a video, making it the most effective form of media.

Smartphones make it easy to create compelling videos and photos that:

  • Showcase the good you are doing
  • Share stories of individuals that have been touched by your mission
  • Highlight the transformative impact of giving
  • Compel audiences to take action
 year end giving campaign storytelling

Remember: In terms of views, likes and shares, raw footage—like that which has been captured on a smartphone—consistently outperforms professionally produced videos and photos.

Need help with your year-end giving campaign!

Our digital marketing services enable organizations to get up and running quickly and effectively by setting up their year end giving campaigns for them. Our goal is to ensure nonprofit organizations are successful with their fundraising and communication, especially at the end of the year.

End of Year Thank You to Donors

Thanking donors is perhaps the most important part of your campaign.

Spread the spirit of gratitude across your network of supporters by intentionally thanking donors of all ages. There is a direct correlation between thanking donors and receiving future donations.

6 ways to share your gratitude for support:

  1. Embed a video on your donation page confirmation screen
  2. Send an automatic email with a photo and tax receipt
  3. Personally post a thank you and tag donors on your social media wall
  4. Send a personal text message
  5. Call them over the phone or leave a voice mail
  6. Send a handwritten note by mail
End of the year thank you to donors

The #1 reason donors don’t give again is because they are unaware of the impact their donation had on your cause. So don’t forget or you may lose donors for your future fundraising campaigns.

Showcase Year-End Fundraising Totals

Send live campaign updates until you reach your goal.

Encourage your followers, donors and ambassadors as you make progress towards your goal. Remember that many of the donors are more than willing to make an additional contribution in the last three days of the year to ensure you are able to succeed in your mission.

5 ways to showcase fundraising results:

  1. Display a live fundraising thermometer on your website and in your office
  2. Link to your thermometer in campaign communications
  3. Use your social feed and Facebook Live to update supporters in real-time
  4. Pre-plan communications with 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% of goal updates
  5. Post videos with mid-campaign updates challenging supporters to do more
Showcase Year End Giving Totals

Remember: The most important people you need to update and encourage throughout your campaign are your fundraising ambassadors. Be sure to also plan to promote a matching fund towards the end of your giving campaign to ensure your reach your goal.

Donor Data Analysis Is Key

Make real-time campaign decisions to maximize giving and participation.

It is vital to the success of your campaign that you understand who is making donations, when they are made, and where they are coming from.

Use analytics to gain insight into campaign effectiveness and make real-time adjustments to your website, donation page, and messaging.



Track conversion rates on your website and donation page


Social media

Track your reach on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram


Shortlinks (like bit.ly)

Track the number of people that click your links


Donor records

Track average gift sizes and frequencies

It is of paramount importance that you make it possible for donors of all ages to give online with just a few taps or clicks from any device.

Year End Giving Donor Data Analysis

Tip: Only require fields on your donation page that help you get to know your donors without making it hard to give—the fewer the better. Donating should be quick and easy!

Step 2: Implement Best Practices

Year End Giving Campaign Tips and Ideas

The more resources, training and accountability you provide to your team of ambassadors, the more money you will collect.

Here’s the deal:

If you follow these end of the year giving best practices, your campaign will be a success. This is a huge opportunity for your organization so you want to make sure you do not turn away any would-be donors.

One of the most important things you have to remember is making it as easy to give to your cause, volunteer or fundraise on your behalf.

Raise more donations than ever before with these year end giving ideas:

  • Make it easy to give form any device at any time.
  • Make it easy to volunteer for your organization
  • Empower your supporters to collect donations
  • Leverage corporate partnerships
  • Kick off your year end giving on #GivingTuesday
  • Boost end of the year giving with a live event
  • Implement a multi-channel New Year’s Eve solicitation

Convenient Donations at the End of the Year

Make it easy for donors to give.

Give your supporters multiple ways that they can give:

  • Online (from any device)
  • By check
  • By cash
  • Over the phone
  • By swiper (in person)
  • By text message with a text-to-give keyword

Keep supporters updated and easily track your goal with a live campaign fundraising thermometer.

Online Year End Giving Campaign Ideas

Text GOUSC to 51555 or go to mcause.us/gousc to see example

Tip: Strengthen in-kind donation programs by making it easy to give with a credit/debit card.

Volunteer Empowerment

Make it easy as possible for people to get involved in your mission.

Volunteers are nearly twice as likely to donate than those that do
not volunteer……make it easy to get involved. You can:

Volunteering is the best way to gain contributions for your cause that don’t involve money. In fact, volunteers are more likely to become lifelong donors for your cause even if their first interaction with your organization wasn’t a donation. Sign up volunteers from wherever they are with mobile and online solutions that make it easy to get involved

  • Embed a video on your sign-up form
  • Gain more volunteers with text message registrations
  • Keep volunteers connected with text reminders
Volunteering Year End Giving Idea

Text STREETS to 51555 or go to mcause.us/streets to see example

Crowdfunding Ambassadors

Empower supporters to raise donations from friends and family.

One-third of all online donations are a result of peer-to-peer fundraising (Source: MobileCause Peer to Peer Fundraising Guide)

Peer-to-peer fundraising is one of the most popular types of crowdfunding, giving your supporters the option to either donate directly to your cause or volunteer to fundraise on your behalf. They can recruit their family, friends, and social networks to do the same, amplifying the effectiveness of your fundraising simpler and easier than ever before. You can enable:

  • Ambassadors create their own page in seconds
  • Donations go directly and securely to your cause
  • Pages are easily shared via social media, email, and text
Peer to Peer Fundraising Year End Giving Idea

Text NORTHWOOD to 51555 or go to mcause.us/northwood to see example

Corporate Partnerships

Empower your corporate partners with crowdfunding

91% of consumers switch to brands that support good causes (Source: MobileCause Corporate Social Responsibility Fundraising)

Corporate partnerships are a great way for nonprofits to raise more donations while allowing a business to do good by fundraising for your cause. Often times companies will advertise your campaign to their customers as well as their employees, resulting in you reaping the rewards of both increased donations and heightened exposure for your organization.

  • Showcase your partnership with the community
  • Corporate employees can create their own fundraising pages
  • Sign-up forms can be embedded on corporate websites
Corporate Partnership Year End Giving Idea

Text FARMERS to 51555 or go to mcause.us/farmers to see example


Empower every follower to give and promote your nonprofit

Keep Your call-to-action for donations simple

The more you provide your ambassadors with training, content to share, encouragement and support, the more your #GivingTuesday campaign will be a success!

  • Ambassadors create their own page in seconds
  • Synchronize all communication channels
  • Encourage followers to post #unselfies
  • Use shortlinks and keywords to make giving easy
  • Empower ambassadors with fundraising pages
  • Showcase donor names and totals as they roll in
#GivingTuesday Year End Giving Idea

Boost Year-End Giving with a Live Event

Create excitement by showcasing donations and ticket sales in real time

Donations displayed live on-screen makes giving at events fun

Inspire dinner, luncheon, or virtual event attendees to donate with a unique giving experience they’ll never forget. The fundraising thermometer provides a visual cue to show attendees not only how to give, but how close you are to your goal! Watch as the donations roll in and the thermometer rises while your emcee recognizes donors as their names are displayed on-screen in real-time. Make to capture all donation types including:

  • Mobile pledges appear live on screen
  • Include ticket sale totals
  • Include out-of-towner gifts
  • Include on and offline donations (cash and checks)
  • Include donations collected with a swiper
Year End Giving Event

Go to mcause.us/unity to see thermometer example and make a pledge

New Year’s Eve Solicitation

Send a communication to your supporters on December 31st

Reach donors and supporters with a final year end appeal

Ask your supporters to make a last minute donation before the clock strikes midnight to help you reach your goal. Be sure to communicate differently with people who have already made a gift.

  • Record a video with your final appeal and embed it on your donation page
  • Send a corresponding text message and email with donation page link
End of the Year Appeal

Step 3: Promote the End of the Year Campaign Across All Channels

Year end giving campaign promotion

Impact on your year-end fundraising campaign success is the ability for donors to make quick and easy donations to your cause from anywhere. No matter what device they are on or what channel they heard your year end appeal for donations.

Any unnecessary steps a potential donor must make to support your cause can lower the success of
your campaign. We find that nonprofit organizations that use a multi-channel approach to theie
year-end appeal, yield better results. These channels can include:

  • Online: website, partner sites, media and blogs, video, advertising, SEO
  • Email
  • Social media
  • Text messaging
  • Direct mail
  • Television and radio promotion
  • In-person events
  • Phone

Essential Year-End Giving Toolkit

Elevate your year-end giving campaign results with the help of our toolkit.

Download our collection of essential resources to help you raise awareness for your cause, engage your community of donors, and achieve your fundraising goals.

Essential Year-End Giving Toolkit
Elevate your year-end giving campaign results with the help of our toolkit.

Donations On Your Website

Online giving should be fast, simple, and secure from any device

Remove all obstacles to completing a donation on your website:

Your GIVE button should be prominently located on your website and Facebook page, and when clicked, should open your secure (https) and mobile-friendly donation page.

The design of your donation page should reinforce the impact of year-end giving with:

  • Online form optimization (desktop, mobile and tablet devices)
  • Campaign branding
  • Videos and photos
  • Suggested donation amounts
  • Recurring gift options
  • In memory/honor of option
  • Custom data collection fields
Online Year End Giving

Mobile friendly donation pages yield 34% more donations. (Source: MobileCause Mobile Fundraising Best Practices)

Donations from Email

Make it easy to give in response to emails read on any device.

One-Click donations from emails

Make it easy for supporters to click your DONATE button in emails and give in seconds from a computer, tablet or smartphone.

Best practices for email fundraising:

  • Embed a video on your sign-up form
  • Track every donation from email
  • Strengthen email campaigns with text reminders
  • Link a screenshot of your year-end donation page
Email Year End Giving

56% of all emails are read on a mobile device. (Source: MobileCause Email Campaign Promotion)

Donations from Social Media

Conveniently collect donations from all types of social media posts and pages.

Promote your donation page shortlink in posts and text-to-donate keyword in images and videos

Make it easy and obvious for your social followers to make donations.

Practices for social media fundraising:

  • Encourage followers to click shortlinks in Facebook and Twitter posts
  • Encourage followers to text-to-donate in photos on Instagram
  • Embed your donation page inside your Facebook page
  • Encourage followers to text-to-donate on Facebook Live and shout out donors as they appear on your fundraising thermometer
  • Empower social followers to make micro donations of $1 or more
Social Media Year End Appeal

78% of all potential donors have at least one social media profile. (Source: MobileCause Social Media Solutions)

Donations from Text Messaging

Send text reminders to strengthen every channel and expand your reach.

Connect with donors using text messages that have a 98% open rate

When it comes to getting in touch, there’s no better way to talk to your supporters than directly on their mobile device. Even better, the TCPA allows special permissions for nonprofits, meaning you can upload any phone numbers you have on record and start contacting your donors in a matter of minutes.

Best practices for sending texts to donors:

  • Send at least 3 texts with compelling content before asking for a donation
  • Send links to videos, web pages, social campaigns, and sign-up forms
  • Integrate text reminders to increase conversions for every channel

Best practices for sending text messages:

  • Build list of mobile subscribers with keywords
  • Build list of mobile subscribers by collecting mobile number on forms
  • Upload and validate the mobile phone numbers you already have in your database
Text Message Year End Appeal

Donations from Direct Mail

Make it easy for recipients to give online from any device in response to your year end appeal letter

Increase response rates from your end of the year fundraising appeal letter

Online donation instructions should be prominently located on the envelope and within your year-end appeal letter. Even better… the post office gives a 2% discount on postage if you include a QR code on your envelope.

Best practices for year end giving letters

  • Track every online donation made in response to appeal letter
  • Strengthen donor records by collecting mobile numbers and emails
  • Strengthen giving letter campaigns with text reminders
Year End Appeal Letter

35% of donors say they prefer to respond to direct mail by giving online. (Source: MobileCause Direct Mail Infographic)

Donations from Television

Give television viewers everywhere a simple way to donate

Empower celebrities to raise donations For Your cause

Your call-to-action should include text-to-give keyword along with your website URL to yield the highest possible donation totals.

Best practices for television fundraising:

  • Make a clear and concise call-to-action
  • The donate button on your website should link to the same page as your text-to-give keyword reply message
  • Shout out donor names as they appear on the fundraising thermometer to inspire more giving
Television Year End Appeal

Donations from Radio

Make it easy to ask for donations on radio and see real-time results

Give listeners the power to give from anywhere in seconds

Instruct listeners to text-to-donate or go to your website to make a donation of any amount.

Best practices for radio fundraising appeals:

  • Track every donation made in response to appeal letter
  • Make your call-to-action as simple and easy as possible
  • Shout out donor names throughout broadcasts to inspire more giving
  • Promote your campaign until the fundraising goal is reached
Radio Year End Appeal

Donations Over the Phone

Empower your staff to collect secure phonathon donations.

Give listeners the power to give from anywhere in seconds

Whether you’re a university with a student-run call center or an organization hosting its annual volunteer phonathon, online giving makes the process smoother than ever. Just provide your phone representatives with a link to your secure online donation form, and they’ll be able to enter donors’ information into the form to submit their donation with just a click.

Tip: For donors that don’t want to give their credit card information over the phone, instantly send them donation page links by text message. Additionally, you can send 3 automatic reminder text messages if they do not fulfill their pledge.

Year End Phone Appeal

Donors are 4 times more likely to connect with your nonprofit when they are contacted on their mobile phone. Use phone number validation to identify the mobile numbers you already have in your donor database. (Source: MobileCause Voice-Call Campaign Promotion)

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