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...Read more.
They say, "A picture is worth a thousand words," and a well-crafted pitch deck can capture the essence of your mission, convey your impact, and inspire potential funders and donors to support your work. In this article, we will explore the key...Read more.
Sample Slide Deck Outline/ Template Social change isn’t easy. Your organization may have the best of intentions, but unless you can convince others to join you, you’ll never make the impact you’ve been dreaming of. You need volunteers, donors, and...Read more.
Now in its eighth year, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season each November by encouraging global giving via social media. It’s a collaborative effort between nonprofits and civic organizations, small businesses and large corporations—not...Read more.
Crafting a Successful End-of-Year Campaign: A Comprehensive Guide
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.
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 some help planning or implementing your end-of-year campaign?
They say, "A picture is worth a thousand words," and a well-crafted pitch deck can capture the essence of your mission, convey your impact, and inspire potential funders and donors to support your work.
In this article, we will explore the key elements of a compelling pitch deck for your nonprofit, outline what you really need to communicate in 10 slides, and share some case study samples along the way.
Start with a Captivating Story (slides 1 & 2)
Every great pitch deck begins with a powerful story. As a nonprofit, you have a unique narrative that drives your mission and fuels your passion.
Introduce your organization with a heartfelt and relatable story that tugs at the heartstrings of your audience. Show them the challenges you're tackling, the lives you're changing, and the impact you're making.
A compelling story forms the foundation of your pitch deck and helps funders and donors connect emotionally with your cause.
Engage with Captivating Imagery
Use photos and imagery that tell your story. Show people engaging with one another, or people interacting with their environment, versus a single smiling face that tells your audience nothing in relation to your mission.
Well-designed slides, and a consistent color palette will make your pitch deck visually appealing. Include large images, keep the text concise, use bullet points to convey key messages, and ensure that your font choices are easy to read.
Unless it's a live presentation, consider putting your story in the notes section of the slide deck, or bullet point your story on a separate slide- if a single picture and statement can not carry the story alone.
Slide 3 & 4: Clearly Define Your Mission and Vision
Funders and donors want to know what your nonprofit stands for and what you hope to achieve. Clearly articulate your mission ( without jargon) and vision statements, highlighting the problem you're addressing and the long-term goals you aim to accomplish.
Make it clear how your organization is positioned to create meaningful change and how your approach is both unique and sustainable.
Testimonial for rootid
“I'm really liking what you brought out to highlight. Now the deck is brief, clear, and captures who we are in a more compelling way to all the regular people we are trying to reach. This is the language I needed to focus on. It always feels like such a struggle to liberate myself from the jargon and verbosity, my head is so full of everything--the whole org story, how we do our work, youth stories, research, etc--I really needed your fresh lenses to help pull out the most important things.” - Elizabeth Knight, ED Upward Roots
Demonstrate the tangible outcomes of your work through data, stories, and testimonials.
Use visual aids like infographics, charts, and graphs to illustrate the impact your organization has made so far.
Include quantitative as well as qualitative information like key performance indicators, success metrics, as well as team accolades, and real-life examples to showcase the transformative potential and power of your initiatives.
Donors and funders want to see that their contributions will make a real difference, and a well-presented impact section will inspire their confidence in your organization.
Slide 8: Present Your Financials Transparently
Transparency is vital when seeking funding and support. Provide a clear breakdown of your financials, including revenue sources, funding allocation, and budget projections.
Showcase your ability to manage resources efficiently and ensure sustainability. Instilling confidence in your financial management practices is essential for potential funders.
Slide 9: Outline Your Strategic Plan or Funding Roadmap
Donors and funders want to see that your organization has a well-defined roadmap for the future.
Lay out your strategic plan, including short-term and long-term objectives, expansion strategies, and/or programmatic milestones. Discuss your collaborations with other organizations, and any partnerships that will enhance your reach and impact.
Slide 10: Call to Action
End your pitch deck with a clear call to action. Invite potential funders and donors to join your cause, whether it's through financial support, mentorship, or collaboration. Provide contact information and offer to answer any questions they may have. Be prepared to follow up promptly and demonstrate your gratitude for their consideration.
Testimonial for rootid
“This was so collaborative, but you also did work for me...you all put new language on the deck. This to me was like a "wow" moment because I could share things and then see the changes in real-time, instead of me trying to take what we discussed and pulling it together on my own. I appreciated that you invited me to talk about the deck, why things were there, what they meant in my own words. I think we were able to feed off each other to get a clearer presentation of who Upward Roots is. You all created the space and really have helped me. In our time on Tuesday, I immediately thought of our grant application templates for mission statements and program statements and how I can transfer this language refresh into those.” - Elizabeth Knight, ED Upward Roots
Crafting an irresistible pitch deck for your nonprofit organization is an art that combines storytelling, data, visuals, and passion. By implementing these key elements and infusing your pitch deck with authenticity, you'll be well on your way to engaging funders and donors who share your vision and mission impact.
Social change isn’t easy. Your organization may have the best of intentions, but unless you can convince others to join you, you’ll never make the impact you’ve been dreaming of. You need volunteers, donors, and advocates—and the only way to get them is an engaging pitch.
So, how do you condense the complexities of your work into a concise and compelling argument? We’ll walk you through it.
As we shared in "Simple Steps to Authentic Brand Strategy," branding is really just a fancy word for personality. A strong brand thinks about, interacts with, and wants to be seen by the world in a certain way. It’s critical to building operational capacity, galvanizing support, and maintaining mission focus. So, before anything else, you’ll want to:
Develop a clear value proposition and brand position to establish reputability.
Once you know the positioning, core beliefs and values of your venture, you can begin creating conversations. The question is, with whom?
If you’re not aware of what a persona is, think of it as a semi-fictional character that represents your ideal customer, donor, or supporter. To create one, simply group your audiences based on:
Common motivations or pain points
Shared goals or outcomes
As you identify these figures, you’ll want to start brainstorming things like:
What will capture this persona’s attention?
What motivates them?
Think compassion, finding community, statistical impact, broad systems change, prestige and status, improve economic opportunity, children/family, better health, political outcomes, strengthen community fabric, stability, etc.
What is their vision for the world, and how can you help them get there?
Lastly, it’s time for a gut check:
How might people of different ethnicities identify with what you’re creating?
Who has historically been under-represented or marginalized?
Are you focusing all of your audiences on donors and funders, or are you thinking about clients and partners as well? Are there people your work may impact indirectly that need to be considered?
Knowing your audiences and messaging to them based on their motivations, wants, and needs, will compel them to engage with you.
Your brand needs a consistent tone. Whether it skews casual or formal is up to you, but either way, you should always be mindful of how you phrase things. You don’t want to unintentionally hurt someone. If this is a new concept, work in a group to check your language and possible biases—like we did in this example:
A few points to focus on:
“Generational health crisis” - How do you create messaging that is not inadvertently criticizing culture?
“In our community” - Are we victimizing?
“Obese” - Are we alienating individuals or treating size as a health crisis? Instead, let’s focus on health issues, i.e. the diabetes-specific statistic.
The differences are subtle but meaningful. We’ve changed the focus from shaming what children eat to leveling the playing field to create opportunity.
Have a compelling and inclusive visual language (photography, fonts, color palette, iconography, etc.)
Like written messaging, visual language conveys a lot about the organization, but how do you develop it? Design is such a complex arena. Logos, icons, photography, fonts, and colors—it’s enough to make your head spin, but don’t worry. We’ve got you.
If you haven’t already, take a look at our “Quick and Dirty Guide to Color Theory,” and then consider the colors that best represent the feeling you want as your first impression. Need help getting creative? Mood boards are an effective way to discuss ideas, share insights, and clarify communication. They help visually explain a feeling and, in turn, develop a more authentic and successful brand.
So, now that you have the framework, how do you turn it into an engaging pitch? Start building.
Below, you’ll see a few example personas we’ve created for clients; for the purpose of this post, we’re going to focus on Darren. What would this professional giver/investor want in a pitch?
1. Your ‘Why’
In his TEDx Talk on inspiring action, Simon Sinek shared that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. This is grounded in biology. Decision-making is emotional, so paint your vision in a way that helps people imagine your better world. Skeptics will still want proven results (your cynical majority), but your fellow visionaries will become your brand advocates. This ties in to the second point.
2. The Problem
Clearly articulate the problem you are trying to solve, using simple terminology (no jargon). Why does your organization exist?
Problem statements are important, because often times, they are the lead-in to your messaging and meant to capture your persona’s attention. Think of it this way: If you were stuck in an elevator with Bill Gates, how would you start your pitch for him to support your new venture? You’d probably lead with the wrong you’re trying to right in the world.
Note how the iconography used is gender-inclusive.
3. Your Unique Approach
Why is your organization best suited to tackle this problem?
4. Your Impact
What measurable difference are you making?
5. Your Expertise
Why are you qualified to drive this mission? Are you a cutting edge leader? Break it down for us, and then back it up with headlines of mass scale impacts.
6. Who You Serve
Who’s on the receiving end of this effort?
Of course, all of this leads up to the one thing too many organizations dance around: the ask. We’ve established what WorkIt does, as well as how and why they do it. The only thing left is what kind of help they need to fuel their mission.
If they’ve correctly identified their personas and built upon each point above, chances are, the “Darrens” they’re pitching to will respond favorably. Onward and upward!
Now in its eighth year, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season each November by encouraging global giving via social media. It’s a collaborative effort between nonprofits and civic organizations, small businesses and large corporations—not to mention the driving generosity of families and individuals. (Over $380 million was raised online, this year alone!)
Want to be a part of that magic? We’ve revisited some of this year’s most memorable campaigns and taken note of five elements they all had in common:
5. They were strategic.
Example: Facebook, in partnership with Paypal, matched donations to US-based nonprofits (up to $7 million) on #GivingTuesday. Organizations using Facebook’s ‘Charitable Giving Tools’ paid no fees and were treated to new features, such as recurring donations and updated reporting. By leveraging the social media giant’s offer, nonprofits raised over $125 million.
4. They showed passion.
Example: BarkBox, a canine-centric subscription service, made their followers a simple but powerful offer on #GivingTuesday: For every new subscription, they would donate a BarkBox to a rescue/shelter pup in need. To emphasize this opportunity, they added a video of homeless dogs receiving new treats and toys.
Needless to say, hearts melted and wallets opened.
3. They joined forces with likeminded partners.
Example: Normally, a dollar donated to Feeding America provides at least 10 meals to families in need—but on #GivingTuesday? The Kroger Co. Foundation stepped in to double the impact in support of their Zero Hunger | Zero Waste program. That makes at least 20 meals provided for every dollar raised!
2. They teamed up with influencers.
Example: HGTV superstars Drew and Jonathan Scott—in partnership with Lyft and Nissan—marked #GivingTuesday by taking their celebrity friends for a spin in Habitat for Humanity’s cleverly branded vehicle. The ‘Give Habitat a Lift’ campaign tapped into the popularity of in-car videos as celebs discussed what home means to them and the importance of Habitat’s mission.
1. They were creative.
Example: Just in time for #GivingTuesday, World Vision introduced a new, interactive pop-up shop in New York's Bryant Park. Activities like pictures with a goat, a working water pump, and an African virtual reality experience allowed families to see and feel the mission firsthand. They were then invited to shop for gifts that give back, with all proceeds going to benefit people served by World Vision around the world.
#GivingTuesday is all about finding fun ways to collaborate for the greater good. If you can harness that spirit of giving, you can meet (and surpass!) any fundraising goal.