5 Tactics for a Successful End-of-Year Campaign

I know, I know — summer isn’t even over yet, and we’re already talking about end-of-year (EOY) campaigns. But just like retailers, nonprofits are finding that they have to get on the ball with planning for one of the biggest fundraising windows of the year earlier than ever. Before you know it, it will be November, when things really start to get crazy.

With #GivingTuesday (November 29th this year) now firmly established as a kickoff to the EOY giving frenzy, there is more attention than ever before on charitable causes, and some nonprofits feel the need to go bigger and bolder every year to stand out from the crowd and beat their previous years’ numbers. But bigger and bolder isn’t necessarily always better — we’ve found that some of the most successful EOY campaigns stick to nonprofit fundraising, storytelling, and marketing fundamentals — by executing them in an extremely efficient and strategic way.

One of our favorite examples is our client, Malaria No More, an organization known for breaking out of the box with creative and innovative campaigns and partnerships, but also for doing the basics really really well.

Here are five ways to up the ante for your EOY campaign, inspired by Malaria No More:

1. Create a strong narrative

For their 2014 EOY fundraising campaign, Innovating to End Malaria, Malaria No More built a special appeal focused on new innovations in the field to save lives. Innovating to End Malaria celebrated specific accomplishments and success stories and highlighted what was still needed to make more progress.

2. Define impact

Donors want to know exactly where their money is going, and EOY campaigns provide an opportunity to get specific. Malaria No More outlined four key areas that would receive funding through this special appeal: testing, treatment, blocking transmission, and mobile phones. The closer you can tie donations to tangible means of support, the stronger your support will be.

3. Integrate across channels

Your EOY campaign should not be limited to one platform. Utilize your email list, your social media communities, mobile messaging lists, direct mail, and more to create a seamless appeal that gives your community a chance to donate however they choose. Malaria No More supplemented their microsite with a strong strategy on Facebook and Twitter, and crafted dedicated email series — all featured on their website.

4. Keep it simple

Bigger and bolder can also mean less is more. A clean, colorful, and well-designed site can make the difference between a few thousand versus hundreds of thousands in donations. Don’t overload your EOY landing page with too much content. Malaria No More focused on four stories with a clear call-to-action and succinctly defined needs. The goal is to drive donations, not to make people sift through tons of content.

Need some more examples of clean, compelling websites? Check out some of our work.

5. Set up a match

One of the best strategies for driving more donations is to establish a match with a partner organization, high-level donor, or other financial source. Donors love knowing that their gift can unlock more funds, and it’s an easy way to create extra urgency. Malaria No More set up a match through mid-January of the following year that would double all gifts throughout the campaign.

Thanks to strong visual storytelling, clear calls-to-action, integrated marketing and communications, and partner support, Malaria No More was able to double the funds raised through their 2014 EOY digital campaign versus their direct mail effort — an increase of 20% from the previous year.

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