The year-end giving season consists of a vital few months, wherein nonprofits raise a significant portion of their annual funds. This can be an effective time of year to rally your supporters and build enthusiasm amongst audience members. However, nonprofits will also experience notable competition from other charitable organizations during this time.
Like with your other campaigns, your nonprofit’s technology can be essential to improving your fundraising potential during this time. Review your online fundraising checklist to identify elements of your digital strategy that could be improved, leveraged in new ways, or maximized during the year-end giving season.
To help your nonprofit better leverage its technology for the year-end giving season, this article will review three tips, including how to:
- Expand your marketing strategy.
- Leverage donor prospecting.
- Optimize your website.
Your technology can help maximize your year-end giving potential in two ways. First, it can be used to elevate your marketing campaigns to attract more attention, and second, it can help you earn more from donors who do end up giving. To begin, we will address this first point before exploring the second in the latter two strategies.
1. Expand your marketing strategy.
The months leading up to the year-end giving season are essential for planning your marketing strategy and spreading awareness about your nonprofit and mission. Create custom donation request emails, texts, and direct mail requests for donors whose contact information you already have.
However, to make the most of the end of the year, consider how you can expand your marketing strategy to bring in new donors. To spread your nonprofit’s reach, consider leveraging your technology to:
- Launch a new online campaign. Launching a brand new marketing campaign can be a significant investment of time and resources, and your nonprofit should consider hiring a nonprofit marketing consulting firm if you choose to take this approach. However, a new campaign can offer a high return on investment by putting your nonprofit in front of different audiences. Consider what your online campaign will look like, whether it’s posting content on a social media platform you have yet to post on, launching a new type of online fundraiser such as a public crowdfunding campaign, or creating marketing appeals targeted at a new demographic.
- Create more giving options. During the end of the year, many donors prefer to make gifts on behalf of their friends and family. As part of your year-end marketing campaign, share the many ways donors can contribute to your nonprofit. Create unique materials for each giving method, such as eCards, video messages addressed to the recipient, and custom messaging options donors can fill out with messages to their loved ones.
- Partner with influencers. Online influencers can have significant sway over their followers on their platform of choice. When expanding to a new platform, check if anyone at your nonprofit has a connection to an influencer in your field who has a community on that platform. Then, reach out to them to ask for their help spreading your messages to your followers. To measure each of your partnerships’ results, track your engagement data to determine which influencers have the greatest impact on your year-end fundraising.
Prior to the end of the year, ensure your core fundraising tools are up-to-date and will be able to help accomplish your nonprofit’s fundraising goals. For example, your CRM should be able to create new records for each new donor, your fundraising tools should integrate seamlessly with your CRM, and your communication tools should allow you to customize and automate your messages.
2. Leverage donor prospecting tools.
The end of the year is a popular time for giving for several reasons. While many donate due to the holidays or a personal desire to give back before the year’s end, many donors also give during the last few months of the year due to the tax benefits.
This means the year-end giving season is an opportune time to reach out to your major giving prospects. You may already have a strong list of prospects, and you can use your donor prospecting tools to discover others in your donor database who may have gone overlooked.
Specifically, these tools will help you identify donors who possess the two following characteristics that indicate major giving potential:
- Affinity is how likely a donor is to give to your nonprofit. Your prospect research tools will help you discover affinity markers, such as past donations to other charitable organizations. If a donor has made a major contribution to a nonprofit with a similar mission to yours, they are more likely to give to your nonprofit, as well.
- Capacity is how financially able an individual is to make a major contribution. Prospect research tools can connect donors to capacity-related data, such as annual income, stock holdings, real estate investments, political contributions, and affiliations with corporations.
Ensure you conduct your prospect research several months in advance of the year-end giving season. This will provide your nonprofit with additional time to reach out to prospective donors and steward relationships with them before the end of the year.
3. Optimize your website.
Your nonprofit’s website design is always an essential part of how supporters view and interact with your organization. During the end of the year, your nonprofit should aim to generate an influx of traffic from new visitors. This means your website will need to make the best impression possible and encourage supporters to contribute online donations.
You can optimize your website ahead of the year-end season by:
- Creating a cohesive brand experience. When supporters visit your website, they should immediately recognize that it represents your nonprofit, understand what your nonprofit’s values are, and learn how they can get involved. Include eye-catching imagery, such as a large hero image featuring a single person that visitors can form a connection with. Adjust color levels and use overlays to keep your brand’s theme consistent. Include multiple calls-to-action throughout your website, including a large, brightly-colored donation button on every page.
- Making recurring giving easy. Many nonprofits receive a significant number of one-time gifts during the year-end season. These are often from supporters making an annual gift, who could likely be converted into a recurring donor. Ensure your donation page makes enrolling in your recurring giving program easy with only one or two extra clicks.
- Ensuring your website is accessible. Every visitor should be able to use your website. As you will likely see increased traffic to your website during the end of the year, the months leading up to this giving season are an opportune time to test your website’s accessibility and ensure you are meeting the WCAG’s standards.
Additionally, ensure your website is able to collect your donors’ data and that that information is flowing smoothly through to your CRM. Ahead of the year-end season, perform maintenance on your website to remove outdated links, check that all submission forms are working, and perform user experience tests.
Technology is a core part of many of your nonprofit’s fundraising efforts, and the end of the year is no exception. Leverage the software at your nonprofit’s disposal to attract more attention with an expanded marketing campaign. Then, make the most of that new attention by using prospecting tools to identify potential major donors and ensuring your website facilitates giving.