Besides COVID-19, something else went viral this year: a renewed sense of community.
People worldwide are searching for ways to help one another. In a year of big questions, nonprofit organizations can leverage the end-of-year giving season to appeal to donors’ deepened sense of charity.
But we’re not talking all-out fundraising here. Rather, give a gentle nudge to encourage your donor community to reach into their pockets before the clock strikes midnight on December 31. This time, year-end giving isn’t just about the tax breaks. It’s also the last chance to close a challenging year on a note of generosity and selflessness.
So how can nonprofits inspire donors this season without using up precious resources? Here are some cost-effective year-end giving campaign ideas to get you started.
Send a thank-you email
Gratitude is one of the keys to happiness. Instead of focusing on the hardships of the past year, why not create a campaign based on thankfulness? Help donors feel good, and they’ll feel good about donating.
One of the ways to do this is by sending a simple, heartfelt email expressing thanks to your donors and volunteers. Make it personal and genuine. The email author should explore their own experiences and feelings, and make them relatable to the readers.
Top it off with a link to a digital donation form so people have the option to contribute if they feel inclined. Online donation forms make it easy for people to donate right away, at the moment of inspiration, with just a few clicks.
Remember, the point of the email isn’t to ask for donations. It’s telling a story that creates a feel-good sense of gratitude, naturally spurring the reader to donate.
Offer free downloadable greeting cards
Donations are all about giving, but people like receiving too, particularly during the holiday season. Create something that you can give to your donor base and that might just inspire them to return the good deed.
The gift doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, but a token or treat. A popular idea is downloadable greeting cards or posters people can use at home to boost holiday spirit.
Creating these kinds of assets doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Enlist the help of your team’s graphic designer, if you have one, or perhaps a talented volunteer who can offer their time.
Brainstorm together to come up with an original and creative concept that reflects the message and mission of your nonprofit. Create a series of attractive images as downloadable PDFs for donors to enjoy. You can promote these assets on your organization’s social media pages and website, together with a link to a year-end donation form.
Write a blog about the year that was
The year-end giving season is always a time for reflection, but especially this year, as the world struggles with the consequences of the pandemic. People everywhere are engaging in reflection, thinking about how they’ve changed and what they’ve learned.
Your nonprofit can join in by opening up about the year that was and the lessons you learned under pressure. Write a blog about the challenges, disappointments, and triumphs in your nonprofit community over the past year.
Don’t make the mistake of simply listing the projects and achievements of the organization. Weave in a story about what this year has taught your team, and how you turned a crisis into something positive. Describe the low points as well as the highs — this shows the human side of your nonprofit and makes it easier for the reader to connect.
Add a link to a year-end giving donation form at the bottom of the page. Readers who make it to the end of your story will be naturally inspired to contribute. Publish the blog on your website, and distribute it on social media, native advertising networks, email newsletters, or via a link in an SMS message. This will ensure it reaches as wide an audience as possible.
Create a video
By 2022, video will make up 82 percent of consumer internet traffic. Video is by far one of the most popular ways that people engage with organizations online, so why not finish the year with a video that grabs your donors’ attention?
It may seem that the hardest part of creating a video is the technical aspect. But with so many online video creation tools available, producing a high-quality video isn’t difficult or expensive. The hard part is coming up with an idea that’s exciting, inspiring, and different.
If you can think of a great idea for a video, this is an effective way to engage potential donors and get your nonprofit on their minds. Plus, video platforms like YouTube allow you to embed a link in the video and the video description, so you can include a direct link to a digital donation form. The people watching your video just have to click to make a year-end donation.
Run a virtual event
Of course, there are other ways to give outside of financial donations. Volunteers who give time to nonprofits are just as important as financial donors. The year-end giving season is a great opportunity to run a virtual event to thank current volunteers and recruit new ones.
An expensive gala isn’t necessary or even possible in many areas. A simple evening of giving thanks, celebrating achievements, and looking ahead to the new year will warm hearts and encourage new volunteer signups. Encourage each volunteer to bring a friend or family member who is interested in becoming a volunteer.
Use the event to collect email addresses and mobile numbers of new volunteers. You can follow up with a link to a digital volunteer registration form sent to their email or via SMS.
’Tis the season to give
Giving back doesn’t just benefit others — it makes the giver feel better, too. It can also boost the giver’s financial situation.
There are many reasons why people donate, particularly during year-end giving season, and especially in the age of COVID-19. Many are taking stock of the year that was. Others are becoming more aware of everything they have and want to show appreciation for it. And some are looking to maximize their tax benefits. Whatever the reason, make sure your nonprofit provides year-end giving opportunities that will inspire your donor base.