5 Year-End Appeal Ideas for 2020

WRITTEN BY Kristina Brunnler

The end of the year is approaching quickly, which can be a stressful time for many of us. While the rest of the world may be busy celebrating, many nonprofit professionals are left worrying about whether they’ll meet those important annual fundraising goals. Here to help you create a stand-out year-end fundraising campaign that exceeds your goals are five proven and effective year-end appeal ideas. We took these five year-end appeal ideas from real nonprofits that are also MobileCause customers and included examples below. Whether you have your entire campaign scheduled and ready to go or you’re scrambling to get it started, we hope these five ideas help you launch a year-end campaign that reaches donors and exceeds your annual fundraising goals.

5 Effective Year-End Appeal Ideas from Real Nonprofit Campaigns

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1. Year-End Direct Mail Pieces

In a virtual world, a letter delivered by mail can offer a memorable reminder of your nonprofit’s mission to donors. With many individuals expecting holiday cards in the mail, your nonprofit’s direct mail piece will likely be noticed. For recurring donors you can even go the extra mile and offer a postcard, 2021 calendar/planner or other gift in the mail piece as a special thank you. Small gifts or thank yous serve as reminders to donors why they should continue their membership.

ProTip: You can integrate any direct mail piece with online giving by including your online donation form link or text-to-donate instructions on the letter like the YMCA did in the photo above.

Hollywood YMCA puts text to donate instructions on their direct mail pieces

2. Year-End Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaigns

Peer-to-Peer fundraising is similar to crowdfunding, except it empowers your supporters to fundraise on your organization’s behalf. You can make your peer-to-peer fundraiser themed for the year-end by incorporating holidays like Advocates for Children did with their Christmas Cookie Competition. With in-person celebrations limited this holiday season due to COVID-19, a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign can allow users to participate in your campaign virtually.

Advocates for Children had a holiday cookie bake off for their year-end appeal peer to peer fundraising campaign.

3. Year-End Matching Gift Appeals

Many nonprofits choose to partner with a sponsor company to offer matching gifts for their year-end giving campaign. A matching gift is a charitable donation by a corporation that matches an employee or individuals’ donation to an eligible nonprofit organization, usually dollar for dollar. For example, with CHOC Children’s Hospital’s year-end fundraising campaign, every donation was matched by the company one to one. $100 dollars became $200 dollars, $250 dollars became $500 dollars and so on. Matching gift appeals also dial up a sense of urgency to donate when the appeal ends at a certain date, like December 31st.

CHOC Children_s Hospital online donation form

4. Year-End Social Media Appeals

The holiday season evokes a lot of emotions from us, especially during a turbulent year like 2020. Now is not the time to go silent on social media. Promote your year-end giving campaign on all of your social channels. Let supporters know how your beneficiaries were impacted this year and how their donation dollars helped them. If you’re holding a year-end campaign, also be sure to make social media images for it. Increase post frequency as you approach year-end to create a sense of urgency that your campaign will be ending. You can go the extra mile by going live on certain social channels and build anticipation.

Detroit Pal shares their text-to-donate campaign on social media

ProTip: Humans process visual data better. Scientists state the brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text and 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual. To capture supporters’ attention while they’re scrolling through social media, include text-to-donate instructions within the post’s image like Detroit Pal did. Platforms like Instagram and TikTok are image and video based, making it important to incorporate your call-to-action in more places than just the description.

Struggling with social media? Our team of Digital Fundraising Experts can help you
create an effective social media campaign strategy.

5. Mobile Messaging

As you approach year-end, your fundraising appeals should become more urgent. Mobile messaging is one way to increase that urgency. Start sending mobile messages towards the latter half of November, like Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence did for their Holidays for Hope campaign in the image above. By asking donors for their support via text message, you’re much more likely to receive a reply or donation. Consider this, on average 24% of all nonprofits’ marketing emails are opened, compared to 98% of text messages. With messaging you’ll be much more likely to reach donors than other traditional channels like email marketing or social media.

A Nonprofit uses MobileCause text-to-donate to promote their year-end campaign

We hope these five ideas left you inspired to create a compelling year-end fundraising campaign that reaches donors and exceeds your annual goals. For more year-end fundraising tips, I recommend you download our ebook, 3 Steps to Unlock Year-End Giving Success.

Kristina Brunnler
Marketing Manager


Our goal at MobileCause is to help nonprofit organizations create and manage successful digital fundraising campaigns, raise more money and retain donors longer. Request a free demo with one of our fundraising experts to learn, step by step, how MobileCause can simply help set up your campaigns while transforming your results.

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Download these free resources to help you maximize your fundraising efforts this global day of giving.

Download Your Infographic: 5 Steps to Double Year-end Giving
Download the Nonprofit Goal Planning: Worksheets to Set Your Fundraising Goals
Download  Year-End Giving Appeal Templates: Customizable Donor Messages

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