How To Write The Perfect End Of Year Fundraising Email

April 8, 2019 - 8 minutes read

It’s that wonderful time of year when Christmas lights and gifts abound, and folks are in a generous mood as they relax with their families during the holidays.

And it truly is the season of generosity, with 30% of the donations to nonprofits coming in during December and 10% during the last three days of the year. As a nonprofit, you should be looking to tap into that holiday spirit for your cause. And a year end fundraising email is a great way to do just that!

Why send an end of year fundraising email?

As impactful as an end of year fundraising email can be, it is not a magic pill that gets donations rolling in.

Before you hit send on that email, make sure you’re sending it for the right reasons.

Good reasons to send out an end of year fundraising email include:

  • You want to thank supporters, fill them in on upcoming endeavors for the next year and ask for support.
  • You have a history of healthy engagement on your emails.
  • You want to talk to different groups of donors (say monthly donors vs prospects) with messages tailored to their behavior.

And bad reasons include:

  • It’s part of the yearly routine.
  • You want to drive more donations (without talking about impact).
  • You want to blast your list and pray for click throughs.

Asking yourself “Why?” before sending out your fundraising email also means that you consider other channels to get your message across. Older donors would prefer direct mail over an email and high value donors may appreciate a phone call. If you’re short on time, text messages are a great way to engage supporters in back and forth conversations.

Point being, you’re sending out your end of your communication for the right reasons through the channels where it can create the most impact for your organization.

Let’s see how you can write the perfect email to give your year-end fundraising campaigns a boost.

Keep it simple

You do not want to overcomplicate things for your end of the year fundraising communications, no matter how you decide to do it. Here are a few things we can learn from American Heart Association’s year-end fundraising email:

End Of Year Fundraising Email From American Heart Association

  • Keep your email brief. 500 words or less is a good email length without making it feel bloated.
  • Look out for formatting. Split your text into easily readable paragraphs of 2 or 3 sentences each.
  • Deliver your message loud and clear, so that the reader is left with no doubts on what your email is about.

But keeping it simple does not mean you have to keep it boring! Emails give you the flexibility to add color and images to your communications, to better engage your donors.

Show your appreciation

Give your year-end email a strong start by thanking the reader. This might be for any donations they have made or time they have volunteered to your cause.

And don’t just stop at thanking them in the beginning. You can incorporate gratitude throughout your email and make them feel like a key member of your mission. The Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh gives us a great example of conveying thankfulness through an email.End Of Year Fundraising Email From The Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh

An enthusiastic and genuine show of appreciation will encourage your reader to stay tuned for what you have to say next.

Tell a compelling story

Donations are more often than not driven by emotion rather than logic. Your ability to convey a powerful story around your cause will determine your fundraising returns for your campaign.

Homeboy Industries shows us how to tell a moving story in their year-end fundraising email:

End Of Year Fundraising Email from Homeboy Industries

  • Making your story small-scale and personal will drive more donations than quoting big numbers and talking about suffering on a larger scale.
  • Talk about individuals. A story about real, identifiable people will allow your donors to relate to them.
  • Specify how the act of donating will help these individuals.

A compelling story should serve as an introduction and make a powerful case for your call to action.

Have a strong ask

A single, strong call to action is worth more than any number of half-hearted attempts to get your readers to donate.

Call To Action From Charity: Water

Here are some pointers we can take from Charity: Water about making a compelling ask:

  • Be clear on your terms to avoid any confusion. Use words like “give” and “donate” instead of “join” or “support”
  • Create a sense of urgency by using words like ‘now” and today”
  • Tell them what will happen if they donate before the end of the year. Be specific about the impact they will make to the cause.

Finding the balance between showing your readers the urgency of acting right away and keeping a positive, uplifting tone is the key to an effective call to action.

Make it easy to donate

You have the reader convinced that now is the time to make a sizeable donation to your cause. But even with a great story and a call to action, it is still possible to lose your donors at the very last step.

If your donors click on your call to action and find that your donation process is too confusing, they will give up. And if the purpose of your email is to raise funds, it is important to make it as easy as possible.

  • Reduce the number of clicks required by linking your email’s call to action straight to the donation page
  • Integrate your payment methods, allowing donors to donate any way they choose, like PayPal, ApplePay or Amazon Payment
  • Optimize your donation page for users that may be accessing it through mobile as well as desktop users.

Now all that’s left is to hit send.

An email can be a powerful tool for your end of the year fundraising campaign. Approaching your donors with a clear goal and showing them how much their support would mean to your cause is a surefire way to meet your final fundraising goals for the year.

Do you have any tips on writing a great year-end fundraising email? I’d love to hear from you at [email protected].

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