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7 Steps to Get Ready for Year-End Online Giving

Updated: Sep 21, 2020

The year-end giving season offers a unique opportunity for engaging with your supporters and fans, whether your ultimate goal is deepening relationships or fundraising.

By planning ahead, thinking multichannel, and preparing your communications, you’ll be ready for the year-end online giving season.

  1. Plan Ahead for Messaging. It’s important to assemble your team no later than October to plan your online year-end giving campaigns. Create a matrix that shows the communications your donors and non-donors will receive at year-end and in what channels. For example, think about how Giving Tuesday has created a new national day for giving and how you might harness the opportunity among your supporters.

  2. Think Multichannel. Year-end charitable giving appeals succeed when they are multichannel — when you’re able to reach out and touch people through postal mail, real-world events, email messaging, and social media. Find opportunities in your organization to coordinate messaging. These might include newsletters or print publications, postal mail letters or receipts, welcome kits and welcome series, and videos or other online resources.

  3. Craft Your Year-end Message. Spend time with your team thinking about to frame your current work and how to sharpen your fundraising ask. Remember:

  4. The year-end giving season is a unique time to reframe your organization’s mission and message so it fits current events and the news cycle.

  5. Your fundraising appeals must be anchored in the real world of people solving problems and changing their world, so make sure that type of messaging is front and center.

  6. Consider how to effectively use “social proof,” such as real-world examples, quotes from real people, photos, and data-driven results, as a means to tell your story.

  7. Prepare Your Website. Your website will get a burst of visitor activity from people who are hearing about you in their world. Get your website ready for giving with a schedule of new content that aligns with your year-end messaging. This might include new blog posts, a new featured article on your home page, a lightbox that pops up, and a fresh, new donation page.

  8. Go Mobile with Email. Email has become increasingly important at year-end because of the precise way we can schedule delivery and control the visual and click-through experience.This year, email will be read on more mobile devices than ever before, so you should:

  9. Be sure your email messages look great on mobile, which also goes for your donation page.

  10. Start your email design thinking with mobile first. Most of your donors won’t give on mobile, but most will have their first impression there.

  11. Consider that video looks great on mobile devices and how you might integrate it into your messaging mix this year.

  12. Make It Social. Donors look to others to decide when to give and also to encourage others to support the causes they love. Social media is the perfect platform to push out year-end messaging that is centered around real-world examples, quotes from real people, and lots of photos to tell your story at year-end on all your social channels, and to encourage social sharing whenever possible.

  13. Measure Everything You Can. Take the time to refresh your data dashboard at year-end so you can track all your online activity. Pay specific attention to multichannel tracking, as that often reveals emerging trends in giving.

This article originally appeared on in October 2015.

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