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11 Year-End Giving Campaign Ideas (and 6 Tips for Making Them Work)

13 min read
July 07, 2023
Abby Jarvis

Looking for year-end giving campaign ideas? You’re not alone! It’s an important topic. Whether you’re a seasoned fundraiser with hundreds of appeals under your belt or are getting ready to launch your first campaign, planning your end-of-year campaign can be tough. How do you inspire your donors to give when they’re distracted by the hustle and bustle of the holiday season? What can you do to stand out from the dozens of other fundraising campaigns they’ll see this year? How can you create a campaign that feels compelling and exciting?

Sometimes, all you need is a little nudge that will spark your next great idea. That’s why we’ve compiled these end of year campaign ideas. Find one that speaks to you and take it from there! You may even want to combine two or more of these ideas to create your own unique campaign.

Year-End Giving Campaign Idea #1: Tell a Story

Creating a story-driven campaign is a tried-and-true fundraising method. There are two different approaches you may want to take.

The first tactic is to start with a success story, then invite donors to provide similar positive outcomes for other clients. An advantage of this story format is that it indicates to potential and existing donors that they can make a real, tangible impact on someone’s life by supporting your nonprofit. If you really want to drive home to potential donors that supporting your work is a valuable way to help their community, this could be the approach for you.

A social media graphic shows a happy-looking beagle above a block of text. The text reads, “When Sadie arrived at Agloe Animal Shelter, we weren't sure she'd recover. Now, she's happy and healthy. When you donate to Agloe Animal Shelter, you provide vet care to dogs like Sadie. Read Sadie's story and make your gift today!” Beneath the text is a red button labeled “Sadie’s Story”
In this story, donors read about a dog who is currently healthy because of services she received at an animal shelter. They’re invited to make similar outcomes possible for other animals.

The second approach would be to tell a story in progress and invite donors to be a part of it. This is a great way to get your audience invested in a story and excited about getting involved. If you’re looking to run a campaign that gets your audiences excited about supporting a program or project that’s already underway, this might be a good choice.

A social media graphic shows a happy-looking beagle above a block of text similar to the previous image. In this case, the text reads, “When Sadie arrived at Agloe Animal Shelter, we weren't sure she'd recover. But Sadie's a fighter, and she's working hard to get better. When you donate to Agloe Animal Shelter today, you'll provide the care she needs to heal. Read Sadie's story and make a gift today!” Beneath the text is a red button labeled “Sadie’s Story.”
This is a slightly different version of the above post; in this case, donors read about a dog who currently healing because of services she’s receiving at the shelter. They’re invited to help her on the road to recovery.

Another advantage of story-driven campaigns is that they work easily with lots of other fundraising tactics. Everyone loves a good story!

Year-End Giving Campaign Idea #2: Work Toward a Goal

Humans love working toward a goal. Even better, humans love reaching a goal! In this year-end campaign, you’ll set a fundraising goal and invite donors to join together to make it happen. This is a great tactic to use if you’re raising money for something tangible or specific, like buying an important piece of equipment or funding a specific program. Here’s a tip: Ask a few dedicated donors (your board members would be a great option) to make a gift before you launch your campaign. Donors love reaching goals, but people can be funny about giving to a campaign that no one else has supported yet. Have you ever noticed how restaurants and cafes will sometimes put a few bills in a tip jar at the beginning of a shift? It’s the same idea!

A social media graphic includes a picture of a happy-looking boy standing in a field of flowers. The rest of the image is illustrated with rolling hills, a shining sun, and fluffy clouds. The text on the image reads: “Agloe Kids Summer Camp Scholarship Fund. Our amazing community has already donated $4,639.39 to send kids like Jackson to summer camp. We're only $2,860.61 from our goal of funding scholarships for 75 students. Will 
you help us reach our goal?” Below the text is a sign post with two buttons: One says “Make a Gift” and the other says “Donate Now.”
Goal-oriented campaigns can be a fun way to inspire a sense of urgency and a sense of community at the same time.

Year-End Giving Campaign Idea #3: Fund a Program

Do you have a program that’s popular with your donor base? Use it as the basis of your end-of-year campaign! This tactic works particularly well when combined with some good storytelling elements that include details about your program, who benefits from it, and why donors should fund it.

A social media graphic with a photograph of a blonde woman—her back turned to the camera—holding a young boy. While she faces a blue sky full of clouds, the boy rests his head on her shoulders. Beneath the picture is written in large letters, “Fill their pantry.” Beneath that is copy that reads, “Every week, around 175 families get some or all of their groceries from Agloe Food Bank. A $30 gift will provide a week's worth of meals to a family of four. Will you help fill their pantry today?” At the bottom of the graphic is a button that reads “Feed a Family.”
This appeal, which focuses on raising money for a food pantry, helps donors understand exactly how their gift will make an impact on their community.

Year-End Giving Campaign Idea #4: Focus on Recurring Giving

Instead of asking for one-time gifts, try asking for recurring gifts. This is a great way for donors to make a big difference without giving a huge donation up front. $10 or $20 a month is within the realm of possibility for many people, and that money adds up! Just make sure you include the option to make a one-time gift, too. You can make your campaign even more engaging by creating a name for your base of recurring donors. People love being part of something bigger than themselves, and joining a group of like-minded individuals to make a difference can be very appealing.

This graphic, featuring colors in various shades of orange, invites people to join the “Friends of Agloe STEM Museum” by setting up a monthly gift. Beneath the CTA button, which is labeled “Join Now,” is a close-up image of a dinosaur claw on a smart phone.
Recurring donors are some of the most invaluable supporters you can have. They’ve not only proven a deep commitment to your cause—they’ve also given you the gift of steady, reliable revenue. Recurring donors are a treasure!

Year-End Giving Campaign Idea #5: Focus on Gratitude

Switch it up a little! If you want to show your supporters a little extra love this year, this tactic is for you. Prioritize thanking your community and highlighting the people who make your work possible. Spotlight donors, volunteers, staff, board members, etc., and celebrate their impact. Then, invite others to join your community by supporting your work.

The upper half of this graphic highlights the contributions of a volunteer named Alejandro, who helped launch a soccer club for students. It includes a brief blurb about his work and a thank-you message. The bottom half of the image features the words “It Takes a Village” and an invitation for readers to donate, volunteer, or enroll in one of the organization’s programs. It includes a large button labeled “Get Involved.”
Reviewing your year and celebrating the impact your community has made shows existing donors that you’ve used their gifts well, and it signals to potential donors that their money will make a difference.

Year-End Giving Campaign Idea #6: Get Your Board Involved

Have you ever wished your board members were more engaged in your fundraising activities? Here’s your chance! Getting board members to ask for money can be challenging, especially if they don’t have fundraising experience. Instead, collect their favorite stories or ask them about why they choose to support your nonprofit. Then, use their answers as the basis for appeals or posts.

This graphic features a purple background and a board member’s headshot. Beneath the headline “Making Magic” is a quote from the board member, whose name is Kathy Waller, that reads, “When I visited the after-school tutoring program, I was blown away! I expected grumpy kids, but each of the children in that room were so happy to be there. It was magical.” Beneath the quote is a button labeled “Support Our Students.”
Something as simple as a quote from a board member can strengthen your case for support. This is a great way to get your board members involved in your fundraising campaigns, and it has the added benefit of adding some valuable social proof to your appeal.

Year-End Giving Campaign Idea #7: Go Behind the Scenes

Fundraising is all about building connections. Many fundraising campaigns work to connect donors to the nonprofit’s clients, which is very effective! You can also take the approach of establishing connections between your donors and other people who support your work. Instead of highlighting client stories, try showing your donors how your staff and volunteers are making a difference. Highlight day-to-day life at your facility, volunteer activities, etc. and invite people to support that work by making a donation.

This Facebook post features an image of a nurse next to a clinic patient. The patient is looking at her phone. The accompanying text talks about how Agloe Community Clinic can provide blood glucose monitors to their patients at no cost, thanks existing donors for their generosity, and includes a link where others can go to give.
Telling people their gift will make a difference is great. Showing them how their gift enables real people to do valuable work is even better!

Year-End Giving Campaign Idea #8: Try Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Do you have a base of highly engaged donors or volunteers? Create a peer-to-peer campaign, recruit participants, and equip them to raise money on your behalf. Running a peer-to-peer campaign can be a lot of work, but it’s also a great way to involve your volunteers, loyal donors, board members, and others in your community. If you have the time and resources to set your participants up for fundraising success, this might be a great choice for you.

This graphic promotes participation in a Polar Bear Plunge to benefit the Agloe Arts Coalition. On the left side is an image of a polar bear that seems to be waving at the camera. A brief invitation to participate is accompanied by a button labeled “Register” and three steps for getting involved: setting up a personal fundraising page, raising money for the organization, and joining the fun by taking the plunge.
Peer-to-peer fundraising can help you reach new donors while strengthening your relationship with your strongest supporters.

Year-End Giving Campaign Idea #9: Let Others Ask for You

Peer-to-peer campaigns can be very effective, but they take a lot of work. If you like the idea but don’t have the resources, invite others to ask for support for you! Ask donors, volunteers, clients, board members, and other supporters to create short videos, posts, or even simple letters explaining the impact donors can make when they give to your cause. Then, use those assets on your social media posts, in appeal letters, and in impact updates later on. This tactic has several benefits. You get lots of content to share with your audience, and this kind of guest content lends valuable social proof to your campaign.

This Facebook post by a group called Agloe Now features a quote from Jason Silva. He talks about how he gradually realized how valuable it was to support a local news nonprofit and how he became a volunteer and donor. At the end of the post, Jason asks others to support the nonprofit. The post is accompanied by a picture of a young man taking a photo, plus a comment from a monthly donor who reiterates how much she values the nonprofit.
You can get your supporters involved in your campaign even if you don’t have the resources to run a full-blown peer-to-peer campaign. This is a great way to show your audience that you and your community are working together to make a difference.

Year-End Giving Campaign Idea #10: Do a Year In Review

Reminisce about everything you and your donors have achieved together over the past year, highlight big milestones, and prioritize thanking your community for their support. Invite people to join the movement or keep up the momentum by donating.

This is an infographic for a nonprofit whose donors helped clean up a local river. The image is titled “Look What You Achieved” and includes language about how donors’ contributions resulted in lots of trash being removed from the river, rebounding fish populations, and a river that’s safe for swimming, fishing, playing, and hiking. The bottom of the graphic reads, “When you give to the Agloe Nature Conservancy, you fund work (and outcomes) like these.” Beneath that text is a button labeled “Give Today.”
Reviewing your year and celebrating the impact your community has made shows existing donors that you’ve used their gifts well, and it signals to potential donors that their money will make a difference.

Year-End Giving Campaign Idea #11: Build on Your GivingTuesday Campaign

Keep the theme from your GivingTuesday campaign and extend it to the rest of your end-of-year fundraising activities! This is an especially useful tactic for organizations whose donor bases showed enthusiasm for the original campaign. An advantage of this tactic is that it helps create a memorable campaign that sticks in your audiences’ minds—when they see multiple posts, emails, appeals, and updates all on a similar topic, they’ll be more likely to remember your campaign and get involved.

A red- and cream-colored graphic titled “Home for the Holidays” depicts two children looking out a window. Below the picture is the headline “We did it once. Let’s do it again.” Text on the graphic talks about how donors came together to build a house for a local family on GivingTuesday and asks donors to come together and raise $130,000 to build another house. Beneath the appeal is a red button labeled “Donate Now”
This tactic is a great way to harness the momentum of a GivingTuesday campaign and use it to reach your year-end fundraising goals.

Use These Tactics to Make Your Year-End Campaign More Effective

Even the most innovative year-end fundraising campaign ideas will be unsuccessful if they’re not supported by good strategies. As you plan your end-of-year campaign, use these tactics to reach your audience and inspire them to get involved.

Update Recent Donors First

When was the last time you updated your existing donors on how their support made an impact in your community? If it’s been a while, make sure you report back to your donor base before sending them another appeal. This is especially important if you’re sending appeals to people who donated during GivingTuesday or earlier in the month. Think of it this way: Pretend you gave your kid (or another family member) some money. A couple of weeks later, they ask you for some more—but they never tell you what they did with the first gift you gave them. How likely are you to give them more cash? 

When you ask someone for a gift without sharing how you used the first one, they’ll be far less likely to donate. Before you launch your year-end campaign, send a quick thank-you letter and update to your donors.

Lead With Gratitude

“Thank you” is a powerful phrase, especially when you’re running a fundraising campaign. When you address donors as partners in your work and express gratitude for their support, you do two things. First, you signal to existing donors that you recognize and value their involvement. You also tell potential donors that their support will be seen and appreciated. This also sets the stage for better donor retention in the future.

Segment Your Appeals

Your donor base includes lots of different groups of people. Some may have given their first gift earlier this year. Some may be monthly donors. Some may have given last year but haven’t made another donation this year. You’ll have small donors, large donors, and donors that fall somewhere in between. One-time donors, recurring donors, and even donors to different campaigns—each unique group has their own relationship with your organization. Segmenting your appeals to make them extra-relevant to different audiences gives you the opportunity to engage your supporters in a way that feels very personal. You may not be able to create unique appeals (or even the same appeal that’s been slightly tweaked for different groups), but even simple segmentation can have a big impact on your fundraising.

Use Multiple Channels

Have you ever heard the phrase “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket?” It’s so common it hardly means anything anymore… but it’s an important reminder, especially when you’re planning an end-of-year fundraising campaign. As you plan your communications during this busy time of year, don’t rely solely on any one channel to raise money. Sharing your message through direct mail, email, social media, and other channels will help you reach your audience more effectively. Someone may miss your appeal in the mail, delete an email, or scroll by a social post—having multiple “touches” will make it more likely that someone sees your messaging, remembers it, and acts upon it.

Streamline the Donation Process

If you’re using multiple channels, your donors could see and respond to your appeal in lots of different ways. Whether they’re reading a direct mail appeal or scrolling through social media, it should be easy for them to give. Take steps to make that happen!

For direct mail campaigns, check your remit slips. Are they large enough to fill out easily? Did you include a self-addressed stamped envelope so they can mail it immediately? Next, take a look at your email and social media appeals and make sure you include plenty of links to your donation form. If someone goes directly to your nonprofit’s website, they should be able to find your donate button quickly and navigate to your donation form with a single click. 

Your donation form itself should make the giving process quick and easy. Don’t include lots of extra fields—if you want to collect extra information about your donors, try sending them a donor survey after they give instead. Once you’ve cleaned up your donation form, submit a test donation on both your desktop and your mobile device. The process should be simple whether someone’s on their computer or on their phone.

Automate Your Follow-Ups

You probably already have an automated receipt set up, right? That’s a great start! You can create an even better experience for your donors by automating other things, too. If you can, try automating things like thank-you emails, impact updates, new donor welcome series, and even staff reminders for personalized outreach.

Turn Your Year-End Giving Campaign Ideas Into Reality

Did one of these year-end giving campaign ideas stick out to you? Good! Now it’s time to turn that idea into reality.

Whether you want to create a donation form especially for recurring donors or are looking for ways to automate donor follow-up, Neon CRM includes the tools you need to turn your ideas into reality. Ask us about how you can create unlimited donation forms (great for segment-specific appeals!), build and send emails, set up automation workflows, and support your fundraising programs both now and during the rest of the year.

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