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The Ultimate Guide to Year-End Giving: What is Year-End Giving?

Author: Sonia Urlando
October 19, 2023
🕑 3 min read

The holidays are fast approaching, which means ‘tis the season… for nonprofits to launch their year-end giving campaigns!

The winter months are the time when people have donations on their mind. In fact, 28% of nonprofits raise between 26–50% of their annual funds in end of year donations. With the power of a great campaign, you can blast through your goals and enter the new year feeling successful and secure!

In this ultimate guide to year-end giving blog series, we’ll outline the exact steps to plan and launch an effective end of year giving campaign.

Ready to plan now? Check out part two: Planning Your Year-End Giving Campaign

Ready to launch? Check out part three: Launching Your Year-End Giving Campaign

Why Is Year-End Giving So Important?

Something about the holiday season prompts people to give more than at any other time of the year. For one, the holiday spirit inspires gift-giving, selflessness and a sense of community.

Aside from that, there are simply people who like to make an annual gift to charity. If they haven’t had a chance to do this by the time December comes around, this is their last opportunity in the calendar year. This is especially true for those whose end of year giving is in part motivated by charitable tax credits.

Here’s what the numbers say about end of year giving:

  • Half of all nonprofits receive the majority of their annual donations during the last three months of the year (with 31% in December!)
  • 12% of all giving happens in the last three days of the year
  • Two thirds of donors do zero research before giving

“It’s a time of year when people want to give to charity,” says Fiona Bedlington, Senior Development Officer, Annual and Legacy Giving at Centennial College in Toronto. “To leverage this opportunity effectively, organizations need to plan well in advance and deliver an authentic strategy driven by stories and data.”

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What Is a Year-End Giving Campaign?

A year-end giving campaign is a marketing campaign designed to bring in a boost of donations at the end of the year. It begins with an appeal for donations, and is shared through multiple channels to reach as many people as possible. This helps organizations take full advantage of the giving season and maximize fundraising results.

It’s true that people want to give at this time of year, so it’s essential to take the time to make your organization extra visible. Think of your end of year giving campaign as a shiny introduction for new donors, and a reminder to current donors of the good work you do!

What’s the Difference Between a Campaign, Appeal and Channel?

campaign is fundraising that centers around a specific cause. It is the reason why you’re asking people to donate. For example, if you’re raising money towards the construction of a new building or the purchase of new equipment, these would be considered fundraising campaigns.

An appeal is the actual act of asking people for donations. It works with a specific strategy and timeline in mind, and makes use of several different channels.

Channels are the different ways in which you can ask people to donate. These can be through direct mail, email, social media, or corporate partnerships, to name a few.

Planning Your Year-End Giving Campaign 

Now that you have the details on what a year-end giving campaign is and why it’s important to nonprofits, it’s time to start planning! We’ll cover everything from why you should start early, a planning checklist, how to ask for donations and more in part 2 of this blog series – The Ultimate Guide to Year-End Giving: Planning Your Year-End Giving Campaign. 

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