The Download: Year-End Planning

Year-End Planning: Start Your Engines...NOW!

It may only be July, but Avalon's teams are already prepping for year-end campaigns


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Focus your year-end energy:
  1. Start building your email list now. Use lead gen digital ads, online petitions, advocacy actions, and email appends to add subscribers. And don’t forget your website; is it obvious and easy to sign up for your list?
  2. Prepare campaign elements early so you’re ready to go—this includes lightboxes, mobile-friendly donation pages, and email templates, social posts, etc.
  3. Secure your matching gift(s) early so you can compete in the busy digital landscape on Giving Tuesday and throughout December. We know matching gifts drive strong response and revenue, and without one, you risk missing out on donations from donors who may prioritize giving to other organizations that offer one.
  4. Make a plan for Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday, the global day of giving, falls on November 30 in 2021. Plan to promote Giving Tuesday across multiple emails, your website, and social platforms. The one-day event also lends itself well to deadlines and special matching gifts.
  5. End strong on December 31. It is by far the most productive fundraising day of the year. Plan to send multiple emails and coordinated texts, and offer a matching gift to compete with nearly every other nonprofit doing the same.
  6. Invite monthly donors to participate. If you aren’t already including them in digital campaigns throughout the year, consider adding your sustainers to the mix for an extra, one-time gift.
  7. The message still matters. It’s a busy time of year, but don’t abandon a compelling case for support that outlines tangible needs. The exceptions to this rule are Giving Tuesday and December 31, when short, more transactional messages tend to do the trick.
  8. Engage organic traffic on your website. Upload a fresh lightbox on your website that corresponds with your messaging across all channels. And consider redirecting your homepage URL directly to a donation page on Giving Tuesday and/or December 31. Just make sure your web techniques are always mobile-friendly and accessible, so donations can come in from wherever your donors are raising their glasses at midnight.
  9. Incorporate digital ads into your Year-End fundraising plan. Consider retargeting website visitors for direct donations, or running a social campaign specifically around Giving Tuesday.


Early planning and strategizing ensure everything goes smoothly when it’s time to execute the most critical fundraising campaigns of the year – Giving Tuesday and Year-End.

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The average percentage of online revenue nonprofits raise in December. 
Source: 2021 M+R Benchmarks Study

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$2.47 billion

The amount donors in the United States gave on Giving Tuesday 2020, representing a 29% increase over 2019
Source: Giving Tuesday, Inc.

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Nearly 1/3

The amount of digital ad spending that occurs in December
Source: 2021 M+R Benchmarks Study


Your year-end campaigns don’t end on December 31. We recommend planning to send a thank you email in early January highlighting your accomplished campaign goal or other organizational news. This works as nice cultivation – especially following a hectic season filled with many asks.

And be sure to include year-end donors in a sustainer conversion campaign at the beginning of the new year. It’s a great time to capture folks who are motivated by New Year’s resolutions to be more philanthropic!