It is twelve days before New Year’s Eve and you still do not know if you will meet your year-end fundraising goals. This is more common than you think! About a quarter of all nonprofits receive between 26% and 50% of their funding from their year-end ask. (More statistics here.)
Here are five last-minute fundraising ideas that require little planning and staff involvement to get you to your funding goals:
Last-minute fundraising idea #1: Ask volunteers to share stories about your work
Instead of asking your volunteers to give (or in addition to asking them to give), reach out with an email or a personal call or meeting to ask them to share a story about you to their network:
- Post a picture of themselves working with you on their Facebook or Instagram (make sure you “like it” to link it to your page!).
- Tweet out a thought about how you are helping the community (with a link to your giving page!).
- Send a Letter to the Editor to your local paper (you can even craft a quick sample for them to amend to make it super simple on their end!).
The free press – whether social media bound or live in local media outlets – can help build goodwill and cheer around your name.
That extra branding boost can go a long way to boost gifts. It also increases your network indirectly and opens another way to get volunteers more involved.
Last-minute fundraising idea #2: Gift auction
Dig around your office or your partners’ offices and find anything you can auction – promotional hats, museum tickets, t-shirts, or maybe even Christmas cookies or other baked goods. Set up a last-minute silent auction with a few easy steps (see our tips guide here).
Depending on what you can muster up to auction, you can raise some quick cash to help you meet your bottom line while helping last minute shoppers purchase unique gifts!
Last-minute fundraising idea #3: Organize a last-minute gift wrapping fundraiser
Millions of families procrastinate wrapping their gifts. Talk to your local mall, retail center or even local churches and request permission to set up a table station to wrap presents. All you need are a few volunteers armed with scissors, bows, paper, and tape!
You could alternatively ask a few volunteers to dedicate their time the weekend before Christmas or Christmas Eve to be Santa’s helpers. Often families could use extra help to decorate and wrap presents! Advertise directly on your website or call local TV stations and newspapers to see if they will mention your unique service. If you choose this route, you can either set a price per present or ask for a flat donation for your volunteers’ time.
Also read: Gift Wrap Service Fundraiser
Last-minute fundraising idea #4: “Forgot to buy a gift” In-Your-Honor donations
The day or two before Christmas, send an email to all your procrastinators with a last-minute donation-in-the-name of opportunity. Offer to send a personalized e-card or rush memorabilia gift to the person of the donor’s choosing.
The offer can even be specifically for family and friends for which the donor forgot entirely to buy a gift. All you have to do is design an appealing card, advertise it to your networks, and have a staffer or volunteer poised to quickly respond to purchases. Ideas include:
- “We may have forgotten to send a gift, but we didn’t forget you and your generous spirit! That’s why we made this gift in your name to help others more in need.”
- “We can’t think of a better way to share our love for you this holiday season than to share a gift in your name to your charity – who is helping spread that love to the whole community.”
Last-minute fundraising idea #5: Send another last-minute appeal
You thought 5 was enough. Or maybe even 10 year-end appeal emails and letters went out from your office. You still may have missed the huge percentage of people that wait until the last two days of the year to give.
Send another email or tweet on December 30 or 31, to all of the people on all of your lists that have not given yet. You may just catch a few extra donors that still have not gotten around to making their donations for the year. (See our guide for putting together year-end appeals.)
It is not too late! Your nonprofit has many methods and means available, regardless your size and resources, to push for just a few more year-end gifts. Those few extra boosts can make the difference for your whole year to come, so they are worth the added effort.