December 11, 2023 | Categories DonorPerfect Fundraising Software, Featured

Your Burning Year-End Solicitation Questions: Answered

When you’re in the thick of year-end fundraising, when the light at the end of the tunnel is starting to faintly shine, we know there’s still plenty to do to make this year a success. Here are six common year-end fundraising questions and answers to ease some of the pressure!

How many emails is too many (or not enough)? 

Between DonorPerfect’s data and other nonprofit industry leaders’ research, the general consensus is that it’s worth your while to send between three and five emails between 12/27-12/31. However, if too many of your emails go unopened, you run the risk of landing in your supporters’ spam folders, so aim for quality over quantity. 

Of course, every audience is different, so this is where your data will come in handy. Check your email open and click rates to see when your supporters tend to respond to your e-appeals and when they don’t. Are there any patterns?

Will sending multiple fundraising emails annoy donors who have already given this year?

You don’t want to leave gifts on the table, and if you only send one year-end fundraising email, you’ll risk missing out on donations from supporters who either don’t see it or intend to come back later to give but forget to do so.

Luckily, you can strategically pull email lists or use a service like Constant Contact to create dynamic email lists to exclude donors who have already responded to your appeal. As an extra safety measure, you can always include a quick message of thanks in your email appeals to any donors who already gave, but still receive your fundraising emails: “If you’ve already made your gift this year, thank you! We’re truly grateful for your support.” 

Create beautiful and effective email campaigns with Constant Contact!

Mock Up of the email editor

What does a successful fundraising email on 12/31 look like?

Urgency is the name of the game! Your donors have until 11:59 PM local time to get their charitable tax incentive for the year. Make your email short and eye-catching, and make it as simple as possible for your donors to give.

Your subject line might include the tax deadline, letting readers know they only have a few hours left to make a difference this year. Include a giving button that links to your online donation form, and a couple additional links throughout your email to give your supporters multiple opportunities to give. 

Get templates and samples you can use from our blog! Email Appeals for Last-Minute Donors

Thumbnail of blog post Email Appeals for Last-Minute Donors

How do I find a matching gift?

Your current loyal supporters could jump at the chance to inspire others to give to your mission! If you have a donor who gives reliably every year, you can ask them if you can use their gift as a match to motivate the rest of your community. Other candidates might include supporters who have been positively impacted by your mission and would like to share their story, or area businesses that share your values and would appreciate the extra good will and publicity.

You also don’t have to have just one matching donor! Small groups of donors, especially your board of directors, can pool their gifts together to create an inspiring matching gift opportunity.

Take advantage of employee matching with Double the Donation

Double the Donation Logo.

What if I don’t make my publicly-announced goal? 

It takes guts to set a truly ambitious goal – if you were guaranteed to hit every goal every time, you’d be setting the bar far too low. Goal-setting always includes an element of risk, and missing the mark is not correlated to your hard work or dedication to your mission.

For your social media posts or other communications to donors, you don’t need to hide the fact that you didn’t hit your goal, but make sure to celebrate your wins and end on an uplifting note. Here’s a sample message you can use as a template: 

We’re so proud of how our community came together to support [our mission]. We raised $X this year, and while we didn’t quite hit our goal, here’s what we’ll still be able to accomplish in the coming months:

  • 300 students will be able to participate in our after-school programs next year, free of charge
  • We can prepare and deliver 45 meals to families in need this January 
  • We can support 20 adult learners through getting their GEDs and other educational needs met 

We are so grateful for you and our entire community of supporters. Thank you for making a difference for [our mission] this year!

Mock up of an instagram post.

What steps can I take now so I can properly analyze my campaign efforts later?

With multichannel fundraising, you’re reaching your supporters through a variety of media to inspire them to give in whatever way they can. This can include direct mail, email, social media, in-person meetings, and more.

In your DonorPerfect system, you can use solicitation and sub-solicitation codes to track your overall year-end campaign results, and dive deeper into each branch. If you want to compare your appeal letters between years, or see if your audience gave more digitally or by mail this year, you can use the Solicitation Analysis Report to see the full picture of your campaign, learn from your experience this year, and celebrate your successes.

The DonorPerfect team is cheering you on toward a fantastic year-end fundraising campaign! We’re here and ready to help. Check out the Year-End Fundraising Cheat Sheet, which has everything you need for a successful year-end giving season!

Get your Year-End Fundraising Cheat Sheet!

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Meet the author: Emily Zacek

Emily Zacek joined the DonorPerfect team as a copywriter in January, 2022. She graduated from the University of Michigan in 2014 with degrees in flute performance and organizational studies, and her undergraduate thesis focused on labor activity trends in American arts nonprofits. She brings a...

Learn more about Emily Zacek
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