Year-End Steps to Take Now: Last-Minute Advice from Fundraising Experts

By Nicole Wallace and Raymund Flandez

Send more email appeals

From now through December 31, send a series of two to four email solicitations that highlight the same messages and share the same look and feel, advise fundraising consultants. Don’t just ask people to give. Make a clear case for why they should donate to your organization and what sets it apart from other groups working on the same cause.

“Everybody should be sending out an email within the last 48 hours of this year,” says Kivi Leroux Miller, a marketing consultant for charities.

Make a year-end splash online

No matter why someone visits your website in the next few days, you want them to know that now is a great time to give, says Sarah Durham, president of Big Duck, a communications-consulting company that works with nonprofits.

To grab visitors’ attention, she says, nonprofits should build an introductory splash page that vividly asks them to contribute and connects directly to the donation page. If the group doesn’t have the resources to create a splash page, feature the call to give prominently on the home page.

But Ms. Durham cautions that nonprofits should use a splash page sparingly.

“Because it is aggressive, I wouldn’t recommend that you do it for more than a few days,” she says. “But if you’re ever going to do it, the last week of the year is the time to do it.”

Bring in reinforcements

Some would-be supporters will need a nudge to donate. To help persuade them, add to your website testimonials from donors and celebrities associated with your charity on why they support the organization, says Alia McKee, principal at Sea Change Strategies, a fundraising-consulting company. Nonprofits, she says, should also be sure to include any positive ratings from third-party groups like Charity Navigator or the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance.

Call supporters to say thanks

Don’t forget the telephone. During the next few days, call donors, not to ask them for money but to thank them for their support, fundraising experts advise. Enlist board members and volunteers to help. Letting donors know they’re appreciated will help strengthen their ties to the charity and build a strong foundation for next year’s fundraising. And it might even boost this year’s gifts.