Making the Most of Year-End Giving Trends

Making the Most of Year-End Giving Trends

December 18, 2020

While many businesses are closing out the final quarter and tying up loose ends, nonprofits tend to hit their stride at the end of the year. The last three months of each year are crucial for fundraising and year-end giving.

This period, known as giving season, typically drives millions of dollars to organizations. Understanding what motivates donors during this time will play a huge role in maximizing contributions during annual giving campaigns.

Creating an Actionable Plan for Year-End Campaigns

Chart explaining the percentage of nonprofits that begin year-end planning early in the season


About one third (31%) of annual giving occurs during December. On top of that, about 12% of all giving happens in the last three days of the year. With these statistics in mind, successful implementation of your donor strategy will help maximize year-end fundraising.

While December tends to see the most action in terms of donations, organizations must plan early and implement marketing strategy months in advance. Over half of all nonprofits begin planning in October.

Focus on building awareness and motivating donors during October and November. Use this momentum to convert donations in December. 

Successfully Target Potential and Current Donors

Key components of donor strategy include data about current and potential donors, donor segmentation, and targeted messaging for each group. WealthEngine’s next-generation prospect engagement platform, WE9,  includes We Clean technology to correct data inaccuracies, providing you with the most up-to-date information on your donors and potential donors.

The WE9 WE Screen feature offers valuable insights into donors, allowing you to understand each donor’s propensity to give (P2G). WE’s quality data analysis allows you to segment donors into groups based on income, ability to give, and shared personal interests. Armed with this detailed information, you can easily tailor your messaging to each group.

While planning is important, be prepared to adjust as necessary as the months go by. Don’t be afraid to switch up your segmented groups or rewrite your messaging to keep things relevant. 

Planning the Ask

Statistics show that most donors are active during December, but your ”ask” should come before then. 7.7% of organizations start asking in September, followed by 46.2% in November, and 30.8% in December. 

These numbers help organizations find the right time to reach out. Make appeals early to beat the rush of emails during the later months. If you are aware others will start asking in November, begin communicating with potential donors earlier to secure their contributions. 

Over one-fourth (28%) of nonprofits raise between 26-50% of annual funds from their year-end ask. The timing of these conversations is crucial for fundraising as much as possible. 

Maximizing Donor Potential

Understanding the P2G of each donor is important to make sure they are contributing as much as possible. WealthEngine provides information to help you understand the ability each of your prospects has to give. 

Tailor ask amounts based on different factors including the ability to give, interest level, and potential to become a recurring donor. Double down on mid-level donors during this time. If someone donated earlier in the year, make sure to reach out again and see if they are able to make another contribution. 

Find new ways to entice current donors while cultivating prospects. Participate in gift-matching during year-end giving and the annual giving campaign. Add to your offer, such as including exclusive perks, to increase donor interest. 

Let WealthEngine expand your insight with donor matching. WealthEngine’s platform has a 90% match rate when it comes to donor lists. Utilize this data to accurately target and segment potential donors during your year-end giving campaigns.

Communicating With Donors During Year-End Campaigns

Two-thirds of donors do little to no research before giving to an organization. This means your marketing strategy may be the only thing a donor hears before making the decision to give. Find ways to use this to your advantage, and target donors by helping them connect to your mission.

Using the Right Platform to Reach Your Audience

Email marketing and social media allow for constant communication with prospects and donors. Make sure your digital presence is accurately portraying the mission your organization is working toward. 

Targeted email messaging helps create organic connections between donors and nonprofits. By using donor segmentation with groups created by the insights WealthEngine provides, tailor each campaign to meet the donor’s interests.

Email generates $42 for every $1 spent. Your message is important in getting prospects to interact with your mission. Make sure your content is relevant, socially aware, and shares concrete examples of what your organization does. 

While digital campaigns are great, word-of-mouth plays a huge role for donors as well. Since many donors do not research organizations before giving, they rely on recommendations from friends and family.

Don’t neglect your direct mail campaigns. While technology has allowed for quick contact, 59.9% of nonprofits make 1-3 touches before receiving a year-end contribution. This means your campaign should integrate direct mail and email to maximize your reach. 

Target Active Donors


Make sure your current donors feel appreciated, and find ways to help them get more involved with your organization. Volunteers are twice as likely to donate compared to non-volunteers, and their opinions may help sway prospects. 

Provide visuals to break down how a donor’s contribution is being used. The California Symphony created an infographic to demonstrate exactly where donations were being spent. 

Donors like to see the difference they are making. It will motivate them to continue giving to your organization during the busy holiday season.

Remember Donor Stewardship During Annual Giving Campaigns

Avoid neglecting the basics of donor retention during year-end campaigns. The goal is to encourage donations during this time and create lasting relationships between the donor and your organization.

Donor stewardship remains a high priority year-round. In an increasingly digital world, personalization and human connection will help your organization stand out. Make sure to thank your donors as they make contributions.

Continue the communication by expressing gratitude once more after the year ends. Reach out via phone call or email to share how their donation has been used. While immediate contributions are exciting, donor retention is important for starting the new year off right. 


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