VerticalResponse Blog

While retailers are in the midst of their busy season, so are nonprofits. A survey from Blackbaud shows that charities raise more than 25 percent of their annual contributions in November and December.

#GivingTuesday may be in the rearview mirror, but there’s still plenty of time to boost contributions before the end of year. Here are seven tips for last-minute fundraising.

Tip #1: Share stories

Ask the people you help to share their story. Create a blog post or a video that highlights one person’s story. Share that link in an email to show donors what kind of impact they can have. Your story email doesn’t necessarily require a hard push for donations. Focus on one or two stories, and try a different call-to-call to action like “Hear From Others You Can Help.”

  • Mercy Ships, a charity that uses hospital ships to help those with subpar medical care, shares many stories with its donors, making a personal connection between donor and beneficiary.

Tip #2: Make holidays count

There are several holidays between now and January that you’ll want to mark on your calendar. Plan to engage with donors on or around these holidays.

  • Near Hanukkah, provide eight reasons to donate to correspond with the eight nights of Hanukkah.
  • Around Christmas, ask donors to buy a gift for those in need. Before they drop it off, encourage them to post a picture of the gift on your social channels.
  • Save the Children encourages donors to make charitable contributions part of their New Year resolutions.
  • At the beginning of the New Year, send an email that showcases how many people your organization helped.

Tip #3: Be transparent

Tell your audience exactly how their donations are used. Send an email that encourages donations and explains how far each dollar goes.

  • Tipping Point, a nonprofit supporting people living below the poverty line in the San Francisco Bay Area, tells donors what their contributions have achieved — and of course shares stories of some of the beneficiaries too.


Tip #4: Host and promote events

Consider hosting a few events during this time of year. Yes, planning events can take a bit of time, but use your network of supporters to help. Food banks can host a can drive, an animal shelter can host a low-cost class for kids to make pet-themed ornaments, and a homeless shelter can encourage volunteers to take shifts serving holiday meals.

Tip #5: Plan an easy giveaway on social media

Engage with your audience by offering a holiday-themed giveaway on social media. Partner with a local business to give away a 20% off coupon with every donation, or ask your audience to share what they’re thankful for.

  • Champion Kids Camp, an organization helping children who’ve experienced a trauma, gave away a Cheesecake Factory gift card on social media to generate excitement and donations for their “Adopt-a-Camper for Christmas” program.


Tip #6: Create a gift catalog

People love to buy gifts around the holidays, so consider turning your services into a gift catalog. Create the equivalent of an online flyer to encourage shoppers to make a donation. Use email to advertise your gift guide and link to it online.

  • The American Red Cross creates a holiday catalog to showcase its services. Everything from immunizations to hot meals to time in a shelter is available for donors to purchase.

Tip #7: Be specific

Sometimes people want to buy an actual item and give it to an organization. If you have a specific need for your nonprofit, it’s okay to ask for it.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year to be a nonprofit. Happy holidays and happy fundraising!

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Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published in November 2014 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and relevance.

© 2016 – 2018, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

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