Launching A Strong Year-End Fundraising Campaign Amid Economic Uncertainty

Economic volatility is threatening many nonprofits’ financial outlook. Some may be experiencing poor returns on investments, while others may be navigating reduced donor contributions amid rising consumer costs.

As organizations look to adapt and reassess revenue streams, they should consider how a year-end giving campaign can provide a much-needed funding boost and help improve resilience into 2023. Here’s what nonprofits should keep in mind as they look to engage donors through the balance of this year and beyond.  

Communicate impact and importance

As the cost of consumer goods rises, recurring donors may not be able to give as much or as frequently as they normally do. However, the contributions they are able to make are still valuable – and year-end fundraising campaigns should make sure this is clear. Every dollar matters, and donors should know that the funds they are able to offer will have a positive impact.   

In addition to communicating the impact of donations, nonprofits should make sure that year-end giving campaigns make a compelling case for why funds are needed now. Why is the mission especially critical at this moment in time? Is there increased constituent need? How can donors make a difference today?

Leverage donor data

Donor data plays a critical role in a successful fundraising campaign. While analyzing past donor behavior is helpful, assessing additional donor factors – such as age, income and lifestyle – can also help determine whether someone is likely to donate.

Through predictive analytics, nonprofits can leverage such information to assign a donation probability to each potential donor, as well as anticipated donation amounts. This not only helps with donor acquisition, but also campaign efficiency. Nonprofits can save time and resources by reaching out only to individuals who are likely to support the organization – or likely to donate a larger amount – instead of contacting a broader pool of people who may or may not be interested in engaging. For example, if a nonprofit identifies a select group of high-value donors with a 40% donation probability, targeting them may still be more valuable – resulting in more funds secured – than pursuing the same number of low-value donors who have a very high likelihood of donating.

Publicly available data, such as data from social media platforms, can also help nonprofits target potential donors based on certain demographic characteristics such as age, education – and on some platforms – income. Additionally, social media can help nonprofits discover potential donors who have not yet heard of the organization but have interacted with others that have similar missions. For example, Facebook gives users the option to launch birthday fundraisers for organizations of their choosing. Nonprofits can leverage this information to see what prospective donors on the platform care about. Since individuals are more likely to donate to causes that have personal meaning to them – whether an organization’s mission is relevant to their life experience or passions – this kind of background can indicate whether someone is likely to show their support.  
  
Enhance the donor experience

If it is difficult for people to make a donation, fundraisers are unlikely to reach their full potential no matter the strength of their messaging or targeting. Cumbersome processes that are not user-friendly may result in losing donors midstream. Nonprofits should remove barriers to giving and update their donation channels to keep pace with consumer behavior. Looking for ways to improve ease of use on online and mobile giving platforms can help.

Beyond direct calls for donations, nonprofits should consider how they are communicating their needs and impact. Many donors are interested in seeing how their funds are going to be used. Websites and supporting documentation such as the Form 990 or annual impact reports can help tell the organization’s story and provide context to what the organization does and how donors can support the mission.

In an uncertain economic climate, it is especially important for nonprofits to reassess funding streams. As year-end giving season approaches, organizations should consider ways to enhance donor targeting and communication, so they can continue to support their communities through this challenging time.

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