Keys to Year-End Digital Fundraising Success

It may not seem like it, but year-end is quickly approaching! With more and more donors choosing to give online as 12/31 approaches, it is critical that your website and email strategy are in tip-top shape. Get started planning with our six keys to year-end success.

1. Send more emails!
The number of emails sent at year-end continues to increase across the non-profit industry. In 2016, the average nonprofit sent 9.8 emails in December—and don’t forget that year-end fundraising now unofficially starts in November with #GivingTuesday.

Since inboxes are so crowded, the more emails you send, the more opportunities you have to reach donors. Craft your year-end digital campaign schedule to include email on lower traffic days between Giving Tuesday and December 31st––that can help your emails get opened by more people.

2. Be creative.
Since so many emails are sent out at year-end, it is important to stand out––and there are a number of ways you can do so.

Try using different senders, send emails that have more imagery than text, incorporate holiday graphics and giving thermometers to visually portray goals, and testmore donation buttons within the body of an email. Rethink how you’re framing the case for support and try a more personal approach, or a more targeted ask.

In addition to emails, integrate your campaigns by cross-marketing with social media components.

3. Use tried and true tactics.
While being creative is important, don’t forget the tried and true tactics for succeeding at year-end. These include a Giving Tuesday email campaign, 24-hour fundraising goals, invoice-style emails, matching gift challenges, counting down to December 31st, sending forward or reply-style emails, and incorporating lightboxes into websites.

4. Be agile.
Consider new approaches, and be willing to adapt. Segmentation tactics can make a big difference–– resend a strong email to non-openers another day, use variable copy for non-donors so you can ask them to make their first gift, and email your most engaged supporters more than once on 12/31.

5. Implement quality-control procedures.
Check your work by testing emails before they launch. Ideally, quality control testing should be done a week in advance, so there is time to make changes if needed.

When testing emails, ensure links and forms look good—and work—on desktop and mobile. Confirm that formatting, typos, and preview text glitches are all fixed before the email launches.

Finally, verify that the emails are sent at the designated time to the number of people you expected to send to.

6. Check your results in real time.

Don’t schedule emails to deploy and wait until January 1st to see how they performed. Check on results the day after an email is sent, and make sure you know what to look for. What are good benchmarks for the open rate? How is revenue pacing compared to last year? Is the unsubscribe rate high? If you have concerns, adjust the emails remaining in the series.

We hope these tips are helpful.

Please connect with us if you would like to discuss your year-end strategy before time runs out! Our Meal on Wheels Fundraising Co-op can help. Contact your Account Executive or Kate Zidek at