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Year-end giving amounts to an estimated 40-70 percent of many nonprofits’ annual budgets. The most charitable season of the year is a prime opportunity to secure new supporters and to lift the giving levels of current donors.  In this blog series, we will review the steps to devising a strong campaign—including how to use data analytics to target your messaging, the importance of a compelling story, how to distribute your story through multiple channels, and when to follow up with donors.


Too many donor communication pieces fail to adequately engage donor passion for the mission. Every time we reach out to donors, we should seek to inspire them by how our work is changing lives. Harnessing donor passion will drive giving long before the latest technology will.

Giving to charity is highly emotional. Donors will be more compelled to give when the appeal is tied to a person, animal, or place in need of assistance. Use language and images that appeal to donors emotionally with specific examples of how their gift will benefit someone else. Surveys reveal that donors aren’t affected by statistics, but they will respond to depictions of need and ways they can make a difference.

74% of donors say that their primary reason for giving is because “the holidays are a time to be thankful for what you have, and give to those who need it.” Source: Convio 2010 Holiday Giving Study

Action Items:

  • Search out compelling examples from among your constituents to share how your nonprofit has impacted the community.
  • Ask volunteers to share why they give their time.
  • Craft donor letters around individual stories and embed videos of stories in emails and on your website.
  • Make sure there is a specific call to action at the end of each story – to donate, share socially, or engage a friend.
  • Build a library of stories that you can archive online for visitors to read or watch.

Case in Point: CitySquare

In 2010, the group underwent a rebranding and changed its name from Central Dallas Ministries to CitySquare. The new brand was announced in October of that year. During the prime, end-of-year giving season, the organization wanted to gain new supporters and reassure existing donors that, while their name change indicated a growing scope of services, their mission and vision remained as solid and committed as ever.

After a consistent year of regular donor communication, CitySquare kicked off its end- of-year campaign in late October. CitySquare’s communication strategy included telling its story through the eyes of several different people who had either received help or contributed to the mission.

One of the first donor emails contained a video telling the story of Ilsie, a woman whose life had been deeply impacted by CitySquare’s work. A subsequent email shared the story of a volunteer who was giving both her time and money to support the organization. These and additional personal stories allowed donors to see firsthand how their gifts were benefiting others.

It’s not too late to start building your year-end campaign with Pursuant, but you must respond now. Let us help you raise more by sending the right messages to the right audiences at the right time.