The holiday season is full of generosity and increased charitability, which is why nonprofits tend to see significant spikes in giving around this time of year. According to fundraising research from Double the Donation, 30% of annual giving occurs in December—which means you still have time and opportunity to reach (and surpass) your annual goals.
If you’re looking for unique and powerful ways to engage donors and supporters of all ages, successful holiday giving efforts can be an excellent way to go. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of five tried-and-true tips to maximize your organization’s fundraising strategy through the end of the year:
- Highlight matching gift opportunities
- Participate in Giving Tuesday
- Employ themed campaign ideas
- Send last-minute engagement reminders
- Track and analyze fundraising metrics
Ready to learn more about incorporating effective holiday and year-end fundraising tactics? Let’s dive in with our top suggestion: corporate matching gifts.
1. Highlight matching gift opportunities
Matching gifts are often referred to as the nonprofit sector’s best-kept secret. But it shouldn’t be a secret at all—there’s just a significant knowledge gap among both nonprofit fundraising teams and the donors eligible for these matching opportunities.
Therefore, it’s important that you proactively market matching gifts to your supporters through multiple channels. Here are a few examples:
- Create a dedicated matching gift web page on your nonprofit site
- Highlight matching gifts in your “ways to give page” and website navigation
- Incorporate matching gift information directly into your fundraising appeals, campaign pages, and donation forms
- Promote matching gifts on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more
- Send targeted email appeals with company-specific matching gift program guidelines
Studies show that although more than 18 million individuals are employed by companies with matching gift programs, the vast majority of this group is still completely unaware. Yet when made known, donors love participating in matching gift programming because it allows them to easily double the impact of their contributions without having to give more of their own hard-earned dollars.
2. Participate in Giving Tuesday
For many nonprofits and donors alike, the holiday giving season begins on Giving Tuesday each year. In 2021, this worldwide day of giving falls on November 30th—as always, the Tuesday immediately following Thanksgiving.
Because Giving Tuesday is such a lucrative day for fundraising, thousands of organizations—many that might share similar missions to your own—will be vying for your supporters’ attention. Therefore, it’s important that you ensure your nonprofit stands out among the crowd.
We recommend that you begin promoting your giving day efforts early (like now!). Don’t forget to make the most of social media marketing as well, as it’s often a significant driving factor in successful Giving Tuesday campaigns.
3. Employ themed campaign ideas
During the holiday season, aligning your fundraising ideas with upcoming celebrations and festivities can be one of the best ways to engage your audience and maintain their attention.
Some of our favorite fundraisers for the holidays include:
- Seasonal product sales (i.e., Christmas wreaths or fall-scented candles)
- Themed event-a-thons (i.e., turkey trots, winter fun runs)
- Christmas caroling or holiday concerts
- Angel festivals
- Gift wrapping events or wrapping paper sales
- Holiday-based timed campaigns (i.e., 8 days of Hanukkah, 12 days of Christmas)
The possibilities are endless! Plus, you can put a holiday-related spin on just about any existing fundraising idea you have in mind to better cater to the holiday giving season.
4. Send last-minute engagement reminders
As noted in the previously mentioned research study, 10% of all annual donations are made in the last three days of the year. That means it’s important to increase your donor communication efforts in those last few days! Here are a few impactful tips to consider:
- Consider marketing avenues that can reach donors quickly—such as email, text, or other digital engagements. While direct mail certainly has its place in a nonprofit fundraising strategy, postal services tend to be overloaded in the last weeks of the year, and you can expect to see slowdowns. Make sure you can get the word out before the new year rolls around by prioritizing online tactics and/or sending physical appeals with plenty of time to spare.
- Ensure your giving process is as easy as possible. The holiday season is busy for everyone, including your donors—so they might not have the time or the patience to complete a complicated, 100-step process to submit a donation. Keep your giving experience short, sweet, and to the point, collecting only necessary information to speed things along. And don’t forget to ensure mobile responsiveness so that donors can give on the go!
- Retroactively reach out to match-eligible donors. Donors who had given earlier in the year may have been eligible for a company match yet never completed the process to request the funds for your organization. Luckily, many companies offer generous submission deadlines, often aligning with the end of the calendar year in which the gift was made. That means now might be your last chance to secure those matches, so be sure to remind your still-eligible donors to request a match and provide them with detailed instructions on how to do so.
The most effective holiday and year-end fundraising appeals spark a sense of urgency in the recipient. When you send last-minute reminders about various ways donors are still able to get involved in your campaign efforts, you can leverage that urgency, along with the existing holiday giving spirit, to collect more dollars for your cause.
5. Track and analyze fundraising metrics
Collecting, tracking, and analyzing fundraising data like the metrics listed below is one of the most impactful ways to visualize how your efforts are performing. In turn, this allows you to locate areas in which you’re doing well and where you still have room for improvement throughout the donor journey.
Some of the most important fundraising metrics to prioritize include:
- Return on investment (ROI)
- Cost per dollar raised (CPDR)
- Donor retention rate
- Average donation size
- Matching gift percentage
- Total corporate match revenue
While you should certainly be incorporating fundraising analytics into your overall strategy throughout the year, the holiday season is one of the best opportunities to leverage those insights! The year is coming to an end, which allows you to quickly visualize your most effective initiatives throughout the past several months as well as year-over-year results.
As the holiday giving season quickly approaches, the time to adopt and enable these strategies is now. Take a good look at your fundraising toolkit and make any necessary adjustments or upgrades. With the right tips and resources, your fundraising team will be ready to go.
Good luck, and happy holidays!
Adam created Double the Donation in order to help nonprofits increase their annual revenue through corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs.