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October 21, 2020
Strategies for Yearend Fundraising Success
By Aly Sterling

Aly Sterling
Aly Sterling

While the last few weeks of the year traditionally are the most critical for nonprofit fundraising, the coronavirus pandemic poses special challenges this year, which means you’ll want to find ways to maximize your efforts.

The pandemic has more nonprofits seeking more funds than ever, which is why, perhaps more than ever, you need a plan. The following strategies will help.

Consider partnering with a nonprofit fundraising consultant.

The right fundraising consultant or firm can help your nonprofit during this season by:

  • Helping you set a yearend fundraising goal. By evaluating your past successes, internal resources, the giving capacity of your supporter base and other factors, a consultant can identify a realistic benchmark for your team.

  • Connecting your yearend fundraising back to your ongoing campaigns. Your yearend fundraising push doesn’t exist in a vacuum. In fact, it should be considered an important resource for long-term fundraising projects like your annual fund and capital campaigns.

  • Interviewing key stakeholders about your yearend fundraising approach. A consultant can interview staff, volunteers, donors and other community members to gain unbiased insight into the level of support your team can expect.

  • Create conversations. Technology can enable two-way conversations and put a friendly face to your organization. Experiment with live streaming and one-on-one video calls.

  • Clean your donor data. You can only connect with supporters if you have the right data on hand. Be sure to clean your data by consolidating duplicate donor profiles, updating lapsed donor info, confirming contact and card information and more. This guide offers more advice on good data hygiene practices.

  • Improve your online donation forms. Create a donation page that tells a story about your mission rather than simply asks for funds. Try translating suggested gift amounts into a tangible impact, such as noting that a $50 donation feeds a family for a week.

  • Follow up. Be sure that larger online donations receive a personal thank you so that you don’t miss an opportunity to cultivate a long-term relationship.

  • Promoting gift matching in your yearend communications. Across all communications channels your team should share information directing supporters to confirm their gift matching eligibility as well as to begin the matching gifts process with their employer.

  • Segmenting prospect lists by gift matching eligibility. With targeted prospect lists that identify which supporters can see their gifts matched by their employers, your team may choose to send personalized donation solicitations to these supporters in the interest of maximizing their giving power.

  • Incorporating a gift matching database into your donation forms. One simple way to remind donors to complete the gift matching process is by including a matching gift database search field on your online donation forms. These can be branded to your organization and include information that walks donors through the gift matching process.

Elevate online fundraising strategies to build relationships.

If online fundraising is part of your yearend plan, you’ll want to ensure your online strategy is tailored to create lasting relationships with supporters rather than encouraging one-time donations. These tips will help elevate those efforts:

Establish a yearend matching gift strategy.

One of the quickest and most cost-effective ways to maximize the results of your nonprofit’s yearend fundraising plan is to seek out matching gift programs among your donors.

According to Double the Donation, the nonprofit sector leaves $4 million – $7 million in matching funds unclaimed each year. Take advantage of matching gift programs to boost potential yearend fundraising totals.

With the surge in donations that comes during the last weeks of the year, your nonprofit could stand to gain even more from seeing donors’ gifts matched by their employers. Your team can optimize the gift matching process during these months by:

Aly Sterling, founder and president of Aly Sterling Philanthropy, provides fundraising, strategic planning, search consultation, and board leadership development services for nonprofit organizations, and has contributed to publications of BoardSource, The Governance Institute, and The Giving Institute.

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