It’s the final countdown! December is the busiest month for philanthropy thanks to the holidays and the final opportunity for tax-deductible gifts for the current year.   It’s important to remember that a huge chunk — nearly ⅓ — of donations to nonprofits are made in December.  And 12% are made in the last 3 days of the year.  Giving ramps up during the end of the year, and your campaign should follow that trend.

The best fundraising plans start with strategy, proceed with flexible tactics and a compelling case, and end with heartfelt gratitude.

With the season of giving in full swing, it’s crucial that an organization is prepared to capitalize on the generosity of its donors and potential donors. A well-crafted fundraising appeal is the integral piece to your year-end ask.

Successful communications writing begins with a good plan.  And of course, the primary answer for why you are writing to your constituents should be, “Because I want them to respond.”

Research shows that donors give because they feel connected to an organization’s vision and mission, they want to help others, or they want to make a difference in their communities by giving back.   Pick an overarching narrative that fits in with your organization’s mission.   Whatever the content or format, it should instantly relate to your mission and remind your audience why your cause is worthy of their support


The key to resonating with your audience is creating the most personal message possible, so it seems like your organization is speaking directly to each individual supporter. Although personalized messages will get you the best results, there’s realistically no way your organization can send a unique appeal to every person on your list. That’s where segmentation comes in. Dividing your list up into groups based on giving date and/or gift amount will help you create targeted messages for each group.


When you’re segmenting your list based on past giving dates and amounts, there may be some supporters that stick out as particularly likely to donate to your year-end campaign. Especially if these supporters have given large gifts in the past, you’ll want to put some extra effort into creating the perfect appeal for them.

Depending on the potential gift size and your organization’s capacity, you’ll want to make appeals for these VIP donors and prospects as personalized as possible. Consider creating individual appeals or alternative approaches, like phone calls and in-person asks, if applicable.


For each channel, you’ll need to track to monitor performance. All materials should revolve around a similar theme, you should create unique content optimized for each channel.

One of the most crucial strategies to remember is that each channel should be used differently.  Don’t use the same long letter you are sending to your donors in your social media strategy.  All communications channels serve a different purpose and reach people in different ways.  Make sure your strategy is customized for each channel.

  • Direct mail
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Social media
  • Web (or Internet) Marketing
  • In-person (for any very important donors and prospects)



Its always a good idea to keep your contacts and donors informed of how your campaign is going.  Did you reach your goals? How much more do you need?  Those are questions donors ask when thinking about supporting thier organiztion of choose.  But more importantly it creates a sense of urgency and will prompt your donors to give.



The thank you letter is the other half of a successful appeal. It not only continues your conversation with your donor but when done well, is the beginning of stewardship that makes donors even more receptive to your next campaign.


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RayZo is a full-service marketing and communications corporation, specializing in forming and implementing marketing campaigns for use in advertising, community outreach, digital campaigns, and social media marketing.