3 Best Tips to Maximize Holiday Fundraising in 2021

This guest post was provided by Double the Donation

According to end-of-year fundraising research, 30% of all annual nonprofit giving takes place in December of each year. It’s not a coincidence that this final month also contains a ton of widely celebrated holidays for all sorts of groups and people. When the holiday spirit rises, so, typically, does donors’ willingness to give charitably.

As this season is quickly approaching, organizations all over the world are looking for unique and impactful ways to celebrate these increased giving tendencies, collect funding for their mission, and continuously engage their audiences over time. This also means ensuring their efforts stand out from the crowd of other businesses and nonprofits seeking their supporters’ attention.

But how? Here are a few of our suggested tips. We’ll discuss each one and how you can use it to your advantage in more detail below.

  1. Go into the holiday giving season with a plan.
  2. Promote matching gift opportunities to supporters.
  3. Incorporate the holiday spirit with themed campaigns.

Perhaps you’re planning on participating in Giving Tuesday or another year-end campaign. Maybe you’re looking to spread the holiday cheer to as many mission recipients as possible. The good news is that holiday fundraising tends to be particularly lucrative for nonprofits and other charitable organizations.

Ready to find out how to make the most of it? Let’s jump in.

1. Go into the holiday giving season with a plan.

It’s always a good idea to go into any fundraising campaign with a well-thought-out plan. As the holiday fundraising season rapidly approaches, this is more important than ever before. And if you haven’t already, now is the time to begin crafting this plan!

Explore the following key steps:

  1. Develop fundraising goals. Lofty goals motivate both fundraisers and donors to do as much as they can for your campaign. Unrealistically high goals, however, can have the opposite effect and discourage everyone involved. To find out what the “perfect” goal is, be sure to comb through data collected from your previous fundraising efforts, such as last year’s holiday or end-of-year campaigns. Then, be sure to set your sights a little higher!
  1. Determine a giving season timeline. What should you be doing in the next few weeks and months to ensure an optimized holiday season? What should you have been doing already to prepare your team for success? Craft a detailed timeline, broken down into days, weeks, and months with essential tasks⁠—such as building your software toolkit, drafting your fundraising appeals, segmenting your donor base, sending solicitation requests, and more.
  1. Choose your favorite fundraising methods. There are a ton of different ways to reach your donors, and most campaigns do best with a multichannel outreach plan. At this point in your plan, determine which fundraising methods will be the most valuable for your efforts. For example, you might prioritize online giving, fundraising events, corporate sponsorships, and more.
  1. Tailor your efforts towards supporter groups. For the best results, not every donor should receive the exact same fundraising appeals. More personalized messaging leads to more and higher gifts! To do this, you can tailor your fundraising tactics to best appeal to various audiences by writing to different donor personas. Adjust your wording, acknowledge previous engagement, and choose suggested donation sizes accordingly.

Planning ahead can give your organization the edge you need to elevate your holiday fundraising efforts. And, of course, this is critical for attracting attention, maintaining engagement, and securing donation dollars throughout the busiest season of the year.

2. Promote matching gift opportunities to supporters.

Millions of donors work for companies that match employee gifts, but many remain completely unaware of this offering. This year-end giving season can be the perfect opportunity to begin closing that knowledge gap and securing more corporate donations for your cause.

Let’s look at a few of our favorite matching gift strategies that come in handy, particularly around the holidays:

  • Begin sharing matching gift information on social media now. The more you share about matching gifts prior to your holiday campaign, the more comfortable your donors will be to participate in these efforts when the time comes.
  • Highlight matching gift opportunities in holiday fundraising appeals. Studies show that simply mentioning matching gifts in fundraising appeals typically results in a 71% increase in response rate and a 51% increase in average overall donation amount. Use that to your benefit!
  • Incorporate matching gifts directly into your online giving process. Highlighting matching gifts (and asking donors to enter the company they work for) directly within your online donation form is one of the best ways to increase matches. Not to mention, 1 in 3 donors reported that they’d give a larger donation if they knew a match was being offered.
  • Follow up with match-eligible donors soon after receiving their holiday gifts. In the few days after receiving a donor’s initial gift, be sure to reach out to them with matching gift information. If you know their employer, include company-specific matching gift guidelines and submission instructions to help them get started!
  • Retroactively encourage match-eligible donors to submit last-minute requests. Many match-eligible donors who gave previously in the year likely forgot to request a company match. Remind them now, toward the end of the year, that it may not be too late!

Donors don’t always have a ton of money available during the holidays, but the increased generosity is still there. Prioritizing matching gifts allows donors to do more for a cause that they care about without having to reach back into their own wallets.

3. Incorporate the holiday spirit with themed campaigns.

Donors don’t want to keep contributing to the same old fundraising campaigns over and over, especially when other organizations are switching things up with new and exciting ideas. One of the best ways to keep your fundraising efforts fresh⁠ during the holiday season—and avoid donor fatigue⁠—is by intertwining your campaigns with fun holiday themes.

Take a look at these ideas (or come up with your own!):

  • Holiday contests – Christmas tree or wreath decorating, ugly sweater
  • Fun runs – Turkey trot, holiday 5K race
  • Galas and parties – Thanksgiving gala, New Year’s eve party
  • Auctions and raffles – Holiday gift baskets, vacation packages, themed decor
  • Gift sales – Candles, subscription boxes, flowers, apparel

With a little bit of creativity and a lot of holiday spirit, you can turn just about any fundraiser into a holiday-themed campaign! As an added bonus, incorporating holiday elements into your fundraising efforts can remind donors about the season of giving and allow you to make the most of increased generosity throughout these weeks and months.

Ho ho ho! The holidays are here, and it’s time to ramp up your fundraising efforts accordingly.

As with any effective campaign, it’s essential that you go into the giving season with a concrete plan. Then, leverage matching gift opportunities to drive additional revenue and integrate holiday-related initiatives in your fundraising.

With these strategies in tow, you’ll be all set to make the most of the end-of-year holiday season and position your team for success in the new year. Best of luck!