As we approach the end of the year, nonprofit organizations of all sizes are gearing up for one of the most critical periods in their fundraising calendar— the end-of-year campaign.
This campaign not only allows you to finish the year on a strong financial note but also lays the foundation for your future endeavors. (2023 Annual Report anyone? Digital, Printed, or Website?)
So let’s dive into the essential steps for planning an end-of-year campaign. We will provide some different options depending on your budget, staff size and bandwidth as well as things to think about so it is cohesive with your organizational branding.
We know you have limited time to think and plan these campaigns, yet they need to have the most impact possible, so first and foremost, here are two templates you can copy to help you get organized:
First let’s review a step-by-step process of things to consider when creating your campaign. Then we will review a three-month TO-DO list timeline from October to December 2023—considering holidays, special heritage months, and Giving Tuesday.
Step 1: Set Clear Goals and Objectives
Before diving into the details, it’s essential to define your campaign’s goals and objectives. These should be specific, measurable, and aligned with your organization’s mission. Whether you’re looking to raise a specific dollar amount, acquire new donors, or engage your existing supporters, a clear roadmap is crucial.
Examples of objectives: brand awareness; lead generation or acquisition; nurturing or upgrading existing customers, donors, clients, partnerships; generate client referrals.
Formulate your SMART goal(s) for your campaign.
Metrics for Success & Data Sources
What are the key indicators of engagement and conversion? Are there different channels that you need to be tracking? Do you have a dashboard or reporting mechanism setup?
- SMART Goal Commitment:
- Metric / Data Source:
Step 2: Segment Your Audiences
Your biggest asset is your relationship with the donors supporting your mission. However, not every message will appeal to every audience member, you need to consider what they value and how they align to your mission. Use the prompts below to consider what message will be most compelling to what audiences as well as what stage they are at in their relationship with your organization.
Target Audiences & Segmentation
It’s OK to have more than 1 target audience for your campaign.
In one phrase, what is this campaign about? Formula: what you do + benefits
Core Messaging Concepts
Based on your target personas, what is the “why,” how and impact messaging that will resonate most with them? Don’t forget to include your call to action!
Target Marketing Channels & Marketing Funnel
Based on what we know about your personas, where should we concentrate our marketing efforts? Also, think through what steps the personas will take in order to meet your campaign goals (example: read Tweet -> go to campaign landing page on website -> fill out petition). Remember, there can be multiple workflows that lead to the same conversion.
- What actions are users taking to make it to the next step? What stage are they in their engagement with you from unaware through brand advocate?
- What marketing channels or tools do you need during this step?
Step 3: Resource Allocation for Staff Size and Limited Time
Staff size and time constraints can significantly impact your campaign’s execution:
Few Staff Members:
For organizations with a small team, delegation is key. Assign specific roles and responsibilities to maximize efficiency. You may also want to explore volunteer support. Or if you have the resources, reach out to a trusted partner or vendor to help with your capacity. (Yes, rootid can help you with this.) An outside partner can even help you set up automation for some aspects of your campaign, such as email scheduling, using marketing software.
Time constraints demand a streamlined approach. Prioritize high-impact activities and outsource tasks when possible. Invest in pre-made marketing templates and graphics to save time on design. Remember, quality over quantity is essential.
Step 4: Assets for a Successful Campaign
Now, let’s outline the assets you’ll need for your end-of-year campaign:
- Custom Graphics: Eye-catching visuals are crucial. Invest in custom end-of-year fundraising graphics that convey your message and brand effectively.
- Segmented Messaging: Tailor your messaging to different donor segments. Craft compelling stories and calls to action that resonate with your audience.
- Marketing Templates: Have templates ready for social media posts, email newsletters, and direct mail campaigns. Consistency in branding and messaging is key.
Step 5: Three-Month Timeline: October to December 2023
- Define campaign objectives, goals and strategies.
- Decide on a Tagline and Key Message.
- Assess what assets or templates you have and what new assets need to be created.
- Create custom graphics, marketing templates, and update your donation page.
- Plan, write, and schedule social media content.
- If you know how or have the bandwidth, build yourself an automation series or welcome drip campaign.
- Segment your donor list.
- Consider direct and early outreach for major donors.
- Launch the campaign early in the month.
- Implement Giving Tuesday strategies (usually the Tuesday after Thanksgiving) Here are 3 articles with tons of examples of successful campaigns over the last few years: 5 Elements of Great #Giving Tuesday Campaigns ,
10 Campaigns That Rocked Giving Tuesday & A Formula For Giving Tuesday Success
- Ramp up social media engagement.
- Send out the first wave of emails or newsletters.
- Continue customizing graphics and templates as needed.
- Intensify your campaign during the first two weeks.
- Send out personalized direct mail to targeted donors.
- Run targeted online ads to reach specific segments.
- Engage in end-of-year giving appeals.
- Continue sharing success stories and updates on social media.
- Send out final emails and newsletters with a strong call to action.
- Express gratitude to donors and supporters.
- Review the full campaign cased on your objectives
- Surface learnings about the campaign’s content and execution.
Remember to account for holidays, special heritage months, and Giving Tuesday in your messaging and promotions. In the template we shared above, we gathered a fair number of these days to help you get started. Also, be prepared to adapt your strategy based on real-time campaign performance data.
In conclusion, a successful end-of-year campaign requires careful planning, regardless of your organization’s budget, staff size, or time constraints.
By setting clear goals, allocating resources wisely, and following a well-structured timeline, you can maximize your impact and ensure a strong finish to the year.
This is not just about fundraising; it’s about building lasting relationships with your supporters and advancing your mission.
need help starting your year-end campaign?
we can help! we have tons of free templates or can support you with campaign strategy, design and tactical needs.