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National Museum of African American History and Culture

Leveraging Year-end Online Giving


With year-end digital fundraising campaigns raising a significant amount of revenue each year, every nonprofit should design and execute one. These types of campaigns can capitalize on Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday, or rely solely on a series of targeted emails and follow ups. As the case study below demonstrates, these campaigns are well worth the effort when you create urgency and convey a clear and compelling case for support.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the Smithsonian’s newest museum and has received tremendous support from donors across the United States. In the years leading up to the grand opening, the Museum’s direct marketing programs continuously exceeded revenue goals, and historical benchmarks. It is common to see revenue drop off after a Museum opens, but the NMAAHC has continued to experience astounding growth.

OBJECTIVE: After coming off a robust September One Year Anniversary campaign, the start of the 2017 year-end fundraising campaign was slow, and Avalon’s objective was to ramp up the Museum’s outreach during this season of giving.

 STRATEGY: Avalon responded to the challenge by designing a comprehensive year-end digital campaign. We created a sense of urgency in the final days of the year by using a dynamic countdown clock, and sending a seven-effort email series, including resending the 12/31 email with a ”did you see this?” note. We added a premium: an NMAAHC Charter Member baseball cap as an additional incentive, and specific Giving Tuesday (one-day) and year-end lightboxes on the Museum’s home page to target website visitors.

AUDIENCE: We targeted non-members, current and lapsed members, and monthly donors to give to the year-end campaign.

RESULTS: The year-end digital campaign was a huge success, raising 65% of the Museum’s total online revenue for the entire year! And revenue over the final three days of the year accounted for 66% of the year-end online total.

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