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Nonprofits raise more than half their funding at “year-end”, or the final two or three months of the year. Up to a third of online donations are made in December alone. From emails to formal letters to “tweet” or text campaigns, here are some concrete samples of good year-end fundraising appeals to help your organization with your campaign. Regardless of the format, all of them follow four common threads – they are story-based, they give concrete examples of a donation’s impact, they are personal, and they are urgent.


Year-end donation ask


A Year-End Letter Template

If you want a good, free resource to mimic a formal letter to a past donor asking her for end of year support, try our “Sample Donation Request Letter to Current Supporter.” It fits in all the aspects of a great letter and more – it invites the donor to an upcoming event, a time-tested strategy to make people feel like part of your family.

How to Use Twitter for Year-End

If you are thinking about incorporating Twitter this year to direct people to your online giving page and raise awareness to your campaign, you might check out Ad Expresso’s 37 Twitter Campaigns to “Steal”.

With a number of good examples of how to attract and interest people in your cause, my favorite advice is number 6, “the best ways to grab attention is to focus the creative and messaging on the user (not the advertiser).” This rings true for nonprofits maybe even more than for-profits when it comes to advertising for donations. The most successful campaigns find a way to make the donor want to give by relating the campaign back to them personally. What will the donor get from giving to you that he will particularly want? A sense of doing good? A public thank you? A gift? A chance for a prize?

Using Images inYear-End Appeals

NP Engage shares a great point with 3 year-end appeal examples of its own – great appeals, especially in email format, use great images.  They share an appeal from the Colon Cancer Alliance that shows a survivor with a mug shot like sign indicating “I was 41.”

It immediately draws the reader in with a perfect, empathy-inducing metaphor of cancer being like prison. Another appeal by an animal group, Farm Sanctuary, has a great pull out text box image that connects to the urgency of the appeal – “matching gift deadline TOMORROW.” It’s simple, but the sizing and positioning is perfect to induce a reader to click the “Join Now” button and give immediately.

Make a Video for Your Appeal

You might take a hint from appeals that incorporate video into their messaging, especially if you are planning a social media or GivingTuesday campaign this year. This article by Mini Matters links to a perfect “Invest in Girls” video clip that Wellesley College developed to kick off its year-end campaign. At only 30 seconds, it is short but uses powerful images and messaging to connect donors quickly to instant giving.

A Solid Story-Telling Letter

Family Resource Center of St. Louis published a web-based appeal last year for their 2015 campaign to “say ‘no more’ to family violence”. The letter tells fantastic stories about the impact of the organization’s work on individual lives of children and families. An 8-year-old boy was selling his toys to buy food for his younger siblings, and a woman who fled an abusive husband had her children taken away. The stories connect the reader, who is the potential donor, exactly to how their funding will help people – and that is a successful year-end appeal!

Email Year-End Appeal Sample

The Fundraising Authority encourages you to “steal this email” for your end of year appeal. The email example is framed around helping homeless people. The best parts are that it is very personal, thanks the donor often, and shows a true sense of urgency (people’s lives are “at stake”). Though most nonprofit work cannot demonstrate life or death urgency, most is fulfilling a community need that would otherwise not be met and can claim something important is “at stake.”

Whether your year-end strategy includes a formal letter, email appeals, a social media campaign, or all of the above – take advice from the best and most successful campaigns to boost giving this year!

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