Many fundraisers invest heavily in Giving Tuesday but miss out on the biggest giving days of the year. Keep reading to discover the role Giving Tuesday should play in a nonprofit's year-end fundraising strategy based on key insights that reveal the truth behind end-of-year giving.
Giving Tuesday pales in comparison to the last week of the year
Giving Tuesday is one of the most exciting giving days of the year, and it can be tremendously impactful for nonprofits looking to acquire new donations. Here is Giving Tuesday by the stats, according to GivingTuesday's reporting:
- Giving Tuesday has participants in every country.
- 80+ countries have official Giving Tuesday movements.
- Giving Tuesday generated over 20 billion social media impressions in 2020.
- $2.7B was given in the United States alone on Giving Tuesday in 2021.
With over 20 billion social impressions in one day, it's almost impossible to miss this significant giving day. The excitement of Giving Tuesday has convinced many fundraisers that it should be the primary focus of the year-end fundraising season, but this is a common misconception.
According to our gathered data, Giving Tuesday is just a starting point.
The last week of the year brings in nearly 12 times more revenue
Each year, for the past seven years, we've benchmarked the online fundraising performance of a handful of nonprofit organizations investing heavily in digital fundraising. The year-end giving trends we found are nearly universal.
According to the end-of-year giving statistics of 30 NextAfter clients, most year-end revenue doesn't come in until the last week of the year.
Here's a summary of the year-end giving statistics:
- Giving Tuesday brings in 4% of online year-end revenue.
- December 31 brings in 20% of online year-end revenue.
- The last week of the year brings in 47% of online year-end revenue.
Put another way, there is 924% more revenue at stake during the last week of the year than on Giving Tuesday.
Most nonprofits need to re-prioritize their fundraising plan based on these end-of-year stats
I'm not here to be critical of Giving Tuesday. In fact, I really hope you participate in Giving Tuesday this year. It often serves as a great kickoff to the year-end season. There's also a tremendous opportunity to use cultivation to drive donations on Giving Tuesday.
But according to The State of Year-End Multichannel Fundraising, there is minimal difference in how nonprofits prioritize the week of Giving Tuesday versus the last week of the year.
Consider these two year-end giving statistics we've gathered by analyzing the year-end communications of 119 nonprofits:
- The week of Giving Tuesday: 20% of organizations sent direct mail, and 57% sent emails.
- The last week of the year: 18% of organizations sent direct mail, and 58% sent emails.
Some communicated during both weeks. Some didn't communicate at all. Of those that chose between the two giving weeks, the volume was evenly split.
Volume of year-end emails by week
Looking at the total volume of solicitations sent, we received 62 during the week of Giving Tuesday and 64 during the last week of the year.
Altogether, it appears that there is minimal difference in how nonprofits prioritize these two giving weeks—despite such a significant difference in the revenue at stake.
How to build an effective year-end fundraising playbook in 3 steps
As you plan your digital year-end fundraising strategies, consider this basic playbook.
1. Be intentional about being present with your donors 💛
18% of organizations sent nothing to their online donors during year-end, and 43% sent nothing to their direct mail donors during year-end. As simple as it sounds, sending anything to your donors this year-end season will put you ahead of the curve.
2. Craft a communication plan for the last week of the year 🗓️
The last week of the year has far more revenue at stake compared to Giving Tuesday. Develop a plan to reach out to donors during the busy holiday season. Toward the beginning of the last week of the year, remind them of the opportunity to make an impact. Then remind them of the deadline to make a tax-deductible donation on the last two days of the year.
📣 Learn more: Get access to 3 donation request templates →
3. Add in a Giving Tuesday plan 🎁
After you have your communication plan for the last week of the year, add in a Giving Tuesday campaign plan. Consider using a free content offer (like an ebook, course, free video series, or something else of value) to give your donors first. Then follow up with a direct donation appeal.
Fundraise smarter, not harder
The three-step playbook above is a great starting place. But the most effective year-end campaigns are saturated with cultivation, personal and clear appeals, and high-urgency reminders sent at precise times during the year-end giving season.
We have a 17-email timeline that you can use to piece together your year-end fundraising email campaign—complete with cultivations, appeals, and reminders.
Get a free copy of the year-end email timeline and use it as a guide while you craft your most effective year-end campaign to date.
Happy year-end fundraising!
Nathan and the team at NextAfter are working to decode what works in online fundraising and equip as many nonprofits as possible with what really works to increase giving.