End of Year Giving: What Really Works?

News | January 23, 2017

By Jenna Worley, ASAE Foundation
The end of the year is a critical time for fundraising organizations. According to Network for Good’s 2015 Digital Giving Index, 29% of all online giving to nonprofits in the United States occurred in the month of December, and 11% of all giving occurred in the last three days of the year. Planning for your year-end giving campaign should start now. As you strategize for 2017, think about incorporating the below tactics into your end of year campaigns.

1. Use Matching Donations: Many nonprofit organizations, including WETA Public Television & Radio and the ASAE Foundation have used matching donations to encourage donors to increase their impact during end of year campaigns. Typically, matching gift programs are set up at a 1:1 ratio; $1 is matched by an individual or organization for every $1 donated, usually not to exceed a specific dollar amount. A study from the American Economic Association suggests that matching grants increase the size of a donation made by 19%, as well as the response rate to a solicitation by 22%. Spend time now, during the early part of the year, to reach out to individual donors and organizations to see if they can make a matching donation for the month of December.
2. Show Impact: Engage your prospects and donors immediately by illustrating what their donations support. Association foundations like the American Academy of Periodontology Foundation show impact on their home page through compelling scrolling infographics. The American Chemical Society publishes a downloadable PDF Progress Report that highlights annual milestones. According to a study conducted by the UK-based Pilotlight, 60% of individuals surveyed said that the impact of a charity’s work influenced their decision to donate. Enlist your marketing team or an outside consultant to brainstorm ways you can share your organization’s successes. Take advantage of the numerous free online resources for creating infographics and other marketing assets including Piktochart, Venngage, and Canva.
3. Make it Easy to Give Online: Make plans now to ensure that your giving platforms are user-friendly and responsive on desktop and mobile devices. Blackbaud’s 2015 Charitable Giving Report indicates that 93% of donations in 2015 were made offline, however, online donations are growing at a steady rate. Donors will continue to look for ways to donate online, and on their mobile devices. Don’t sabotage your fundraising efforts; conduct your own user experience testing. Ask your current donors to provide feedback and help you improve your donation website.
Think about year-end giving now. Develop a marketing plan and explore the resources and tools that will guarantee success for your organization throughout the year. Be sure to save the date for the 2017 AFG National Conference where you’ll learn valuable information to help you conduct successful fundraising campaigns year-round. This year’s conference is Thursday, May 11 in Washington, DC.

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