A cold wind cuts through the air, rattling through the brilliantly changing leaves and carrying with it the faintest cinnamon whiff of pumpkin spice latte. As a nonprofit fundraiser, you know this means only one thing: Giving season is almost here!
The end-of-year giving season is a huge deal for the nonprofit sector, driving billions of dollars in the span of a month, with a vast amount of that giving coming in the final few days of the month alone!
But don’t take our word for it. Here are 10 year-end giving statistics that show just how important the final month of the year can be—and how your nonprofit can leverage these trends to make your end-of-year campaign a success.
1. 1/4th of Annual Nonprofit Revenue is Raised in December
According to the 2023 M+R Benchmarks Report, December giving accounts for roughly one fourth (26%) of annual nonprofit revenue.
While that figure is lower than some of the older (but still widely circulated) statistics out there—which generally pin December giving as representing a third of annual revenue—it’s still a lot!
That’s why it’s critical that your nonprofit find success with its end-of-year campaign. Slash 26% out of any organization’s budget and the results will be dire! If you need some help planning your campaign, be sure to download our handy guide, Neon One’s Ultimate Year-End Giving Timeline.
The Ultimate Year-End Giving Timeline
In this timeline and checklist, will teach you how to use your campaign to make meaningful connection points between your year-end campaign, GivingTuesday, and your year-round fundraising strategy.
2. Nonprofits Raise 17-31% of Online Revenue in December
While their 2023 study did not include a breakdown on online revenue raised by month, the 2022 M+R Benchmarks Study found that nonprofits raise anywhere from 17% to 31% of their online revenue in December, depending on their cause.
With an even larger amount of online donations coming through in December than the rest of the year, your nonprofit should make sure it has a branded, fully-optimized donation form.
A form that carries your organization’s branding will garner trust in your donors, and forms that incorporate other key best practices will increase conversion rates. Want to learn more about donation form best practices (and how they are seamlessly incorporated into Neon CRM’s easy-to-use donation form builder)? Then check out the article below!
3. GivingTuesday is a Great Time to Kick Off Your Year-End Campaign
If you’re looking for a good time to kick off your year-end campaign, why not pick GivingTuesday? This global day of generosity began in 2012 and has only grown bigger and bigger with each passing year.
In 2022, organizations participating in GivingTuesday raised over $3.1 billion in the United States alone!
GivingTuesday always falls on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. In 2023, that date is November 28.
Use this day—and its sizeable presence on social media via the #GivingTuesday hashtag—to start your year-end campaign off on the right foot and get your donors excited about giving.
For more tools and tips to help you craft your GivingTuesday campaign, download our GivingTuesday toolkit!
Kickstart your year-end fundraising with a global day of generosity
This toolkit has everything you need to mount a fantastic GivingTuesday fundraiser and supercharge your end-of-year giving.
4. The Most Important Days for Giving Are December 30 and 31
Talk about last minute! December 30 and 31 are such important days that, for many nonprofits, they bring in more revenue than even GivingTuesday!
For more information on December daily giving totals and monthly donation amount breakdowns by NTEE categories, you can check out Neon One’s Donor Data Impact Hub.
As those last-minute donations are coming in, you should be getting ready to follow up with your donors. Don’t be afraid to send out appeals and reminders in those last few days of December, up to and including New Year’s Eve!
Just remember to segment your email lists so that donors who have already given don’t receive those reminders as well. Here’s another tip: Make sure that these reminder emails don’t include the word “reminder” in the subject line! According to Neon One’s 2023 Nonprofit Email Report, That’s one of the words in a subject line that absolutely kills open rates.
For donors who have already given, a great thank-you letter is a nice way to follow up that also serves as the first step toward effective donor retention.
Need help getting started with a thank-you letter? Check out the article below, which covers the ins and outs of composing a great donor thank-you and provides some handy templates to help you get started!
5. Giving Was Way Down on December 31, 2022
According to M+R Benchmarks’ 2023 report, online revenue in 2022 was down 4% in the U.S. from 2021. But here’s the really crazy thing: Much of that decline can be explained by the massive drop in revenue experienced by nonprofit’s on December 31 of the year.
Revenue on that day was down 13% from 2021, with email revenue down a whopping 22%. Pair that to similar drops in GivingTuesday revenue (13% overall and 18% in email revenue, according to M+R), and that 4% drop in overall online revenue makes a lot of sense.
There are some silver linings to this statistic. Giving was way up in 2021: As the world continued to navigate the “return to normalcy” that year, donors—who are reliably generous during times of crisis—stepped up in a big way. Giving being down in 2022 can be attributable to lots of different causes, like economic uncertainty or even donor burnout after the pandemic.
But, whatever the reason, it is something to keep in mind. This means that in 2023 your nonprofit cannot afford to be loosey goosey with your end of year giving strategy.
Need some help composing those end-of-year appeals? Then download our Year-End Fundraising Letter Templates and use them to help craft your message.
6. 50% of U.S. Households Give Annually
Sometimes, it can be helpful to remember just how many people out there are donating to worthy causes every year.
According to CCS Fundraising’s Philanthropic Landscape Report, 50% of U.S. households give annually—and a whopping 81% of affluent households give.
With so many donors out there who are ready and willing to support a great cause like yours, the sky’s the limit.
7. The Average Gift Size Increased (Slightly) in 2022
The 2023 M+R Benchmarks Study found that the average gift size rose between 2021 and 2022. Still, the change in gift amount was pretty slight.
According to their data, the average one-time donation in 2022 was $121; that’s up $6 from an average donation amount of $115 in 2021.
The average monthly gift size increased, too, but only by $1. The average monthly donation in 2022 was $25, up from $24 in 2021.
What does this data tell us? When you’re setting suggested gift amounts on your donation form, don’t undersell your donors’ generosity.
All the same, you shouldn’t set suggested amounts that start way higher than your average gift size!
If you have a comprehensive nonprofit CRM, finding your average donation amounts should be easy. Learn more about which nonprofit CRM best fits your organization in the article below.
8. Monthly Giving Is On the Rise
In case you need any more encouragement to try and convert your new end-of-year donors into recurring monthly donors, just remember: The trends are on your side!
Even as all giving declined in 2022 according to the M+R Benchmarks, the same study found an 11% increase in monthly giving. Last year, monthly donations accounted for 28% of all giving!
9. Don’t Forget to Ask Your Nonprofit’s Volunteers
Although we tend to think of volunteers and donors as two separate things, volunteers really are donating their time (and skills) to your cause, and are very likely to make a monetary donation as well.
Make volunteer retention a priority at your organization, and you’ll be building the foundations for some of your most engaged donors in the future.
10. Tell Donors How Their Gift Will Be Making an Impact
This part is crucial. According to CCS Fundraising, a whopping 97% of donors cited the real or perceived impact of their gift as a major motivating factor behind their decision to give. For comparison, only 56% cited income tax deductions as a major motivator.
When you are making your appeal, be sure to lay out the specific impact that a donor’s gift will make.
Furthermore, try to focus on individual stories. While it might seem smart to wow them with big, flashy stats that capture your organization’s overall impact, people are actually much more likely to give if they know how their gift will help one single person than how it will contribute to helping a thousand people.
It’s the Most Wonderful (and Stressful) Time of the Year
The holiday season is stressful for everyone. But if you’re a nonprofit fundraiser juggling the holiday season and giving season, then November and December are most definitely the most stressful, most chaotic … and most totally rewarding time of the year.
Feel like you could use your some help from your fundraising professionals this year-end giving season? You’re in luck!
Join Neon One’s Connected Fundraising Community on Slack today, where you can connect with your fellow fundraisers, share ideas, and get inspired—all year round!
Join the discussion in our Slack channel on connected fundraising