FYI Blog

Nonprofits head into 2021 with year-end boost

Coming off a strong Giving Tuesday, we raced towards the end of the year with a little anxiety. Not only do most nonprofits raise upwards of 40-50% of their online revenue at year end, but given USPS mail delays—some significant—many organizations were looking to rely on digital revenue streams to keep their critical programs moving.

After 2019’s strong Giving Tuesday showing, the all-important 12/31 totals were softer in 2019 than we’d seen historically. So you can imagine all of us at Avalon repeatedly refreshing running totals in the final hours of 12/31/20 to gauge how year-end digital fundraising would pan out for 2020.

And, as the new year dawned and we dug into results further this week, we breathed a collective sigh of relief… and were in awe at the generosity of the donor community who showed up AGAIN for the causes they care about. Strong Giving Tuesday results at the beginning of the month didn’t keep donors from giving the rest of December. In fact, every single one of Avalon’s digital clients saw an increase in revenue at year end, anywhere from 10% to 60% above 2019.

Diversified revenue from email, web sliders, homepage takeovers, splash pages, social media, text messages, e-Newsletters, and digital ads combined to create a real boost to our clients’ year-end fundraising. This proves yet again that an integrated campaign across all digital properties is key to getting the most out of your year-end fundraising.

Matching gifts—used throughout December, on special days, even in triplicate!—did their duty in strengthening response. Donors responded to the value proposition of amplifying their gift at a critical time of year… at the end of a year that saw so much need. Additionally, several clients asked sustainers to give a special one-time year-end gift, which yielded strong responses from their monthly donor pools.

And it wasn’t just that we reached more people – in many cases, we sent fewer emails to more committed donors, which boosted response rates. Lessons learned from 2019 year-end testing were applied in 2020, with weaker efforts swapped for new techniques and additional touch points added during strong windows of response. And don’t forget the combo of solid mission-based messaging, storytelling, and a variety of digital techniques (shout out to the ubiquitous animated countdown clock!) to compel donors to give even more.

Donors responded in the way many of us have all year—supporting the causes that are keeping us together and moving us forward. And now Avalon clients can do even more good in 2021 – thanks to their strong year-end fundraising strategies! How did your organization or clients fare?