A Quick Four Step Guide for End of the Year Online Fundraising for Nonprofits

While some nonprofits are wrapping up their activities for the years, other nonprofits are ramping up fundraising. The end of the year fundraising cycle provides an invaluable opportunity for nonprofits to raise funds. In fact, approximately 29% of all giving for the year occurs in December, with 11% of all online giving occurring in just the last three days of the year. (Source: NeonCRMFifth Tribe has helped nonprofits and humanitarian organizations raise over hundreds of thousands in funds online. In this article, we’re going to share four steps to make the most of your organization’s end of the year fundraising campaign.

Step 1: Set A Realistic Fundraising Goal

When setting a fundraising goal, set a goal that is SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound). If you’ve done a fundraising campaigns in past years, you can use previous fundraising goals as a strong benchmark and increase the goal by 10% to 20%. However, if you’ve never done a fundraising campaign, it’s important to temper your expectations. If you aren’t sure what the fundraising goal should be, take a look at your email listserve. A simple formula to use is to take the email list multiply it by 3% click through rate and then multiply that amount by an average donation of $75. So if you have 10,000 people on your email list, a 3% click through rate and a $75 donation would result in a goal of $22,500. If you round it down, the fundraising goal for a 1 month long fundraising campaign would be $20,000. This goal is specific, measurable, realistic, and time-bound.

Step 2: Pick A Platform that Maximizes Impact

There are multiple ways to give online. You can organize a campaign around your website, through email with a thermometer style-campaign, social media, an organizational fundraising page, a team fundraising page, or even through mobile devices using text messages. You can decide which platform to use based on the resources at your disposal, number of potential fundraisers, and budget. We recommend team fundraising as the most effective way of doing online fundraising. People that are passionate about a cause make great recruits as fundraisers. In the past we’ve used platforms like Classy, Raiser’s Edge, and Fundly. Classy was our favorite to use based on user experience, price, and social media integration. When looking for a team fundraising platform, pick one that your fundraisers will find easy to use. If it’s easy for them to sign up, create a page, import their emails, and start fundraising, then that’s the platform you should use for your fundraising campaign. Social media fundraising is a bit more challenging, but one of the newest and coolest platforms we’ve come across is Good World which allows your fans to donate directly through your social media platforms.

Step 3: Create Engaging Content

Those contributing to your cause are always interested in knowing that their finances are being used for the right purpose. This is where the content can prove to be helpful. You have to make the content of your website or any other social media platform in a way that it represents all the work you are doing and have done in the past. Start with clearly defined audience segments which may include givers (fundraisers, small contributors, and sponsors), amplifiers (volunteers, high net-worth donors that will give matching contributions, and influencers who will spread the word), and content creators (supporters, content partners, and press). Givers will give directly, amplifiers will spread the word about your campaign, and content creators will help you generate the content for the campaign. A good content strategy should contain owned media (website, blog, social media, email list, mobile app), paid media (search ads, social ads, paid banner ads, video ads, retargeting) and earned media (public relations, social media mentions, and blogger outreach through articles, infographics, or videos).

The best way to organize a content strategy is by organizing it around a single theme. A great end of the year campaign can be “10 Reasons to Give” where you send out countdown ten reasons to give to your organization in separate emails with an additional email summarizing all of the ten reasons. Another theme to organize your campaign around is “Thankfulness” highlighting what people in your organization, supporters, or donors are thankful for. Whatever theme you use, make sure it’s one that will resonate with donors and is easy to generate content for. You can manage all of this content through a content calendar which identifies the content topic/title, the type, the author, due date, and when it will be published.

Step 4: Analyze and Optimize to Maximize Results

Once your campaign is in full swing, it’s important to optimize it quickly and efficiently as possible in order to maximize your results. Focus on the metrics that matter which may include: funds raised, number of donation, average donation size, source of donation, time of the donation, donor info, new vs existing donors, number of content pieces, $ raised per content piece, listserve growth, social media growth, and web traffic growth. By tracking these metrics through weekly reports, you can see what’s working and implement feedback quickly to drive up results.

By following these four steps, you can quickly and easily set up an end of the year fundraising campaign in no-time and help your nonprofit generate much deserved funds to do the great work that you do.

Khuram Zaman

Khuram Zaman is the CEO of Fifth Tribe, a leading digital agency serving the Washington DC Metropolitan Area based out of the 1776 Startup Co-working Space. In his professional capacity, he has provided digital marketing services to clients as diverse as the Department of Defense, Kaiser Permanente, Oxfam America, Ernst and Young, and The Hult Prize. His writing has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur.com, and Business2Community. Khuram is the host of the Campfire: Impact and Innovation live podcast on Youtube. In his free-time, Khuram serves as a mentor to startups through the Peace Tech Accelerator, the Halycon Incubator, and is also a Entrepreneur in Residence at Georgetown University