3 Donor Acquisition Strategies to Implement for Your Year-End Fundraising

Jack Karako is a guest contributor for Nonprofit Hub. Jack has 30 years’ experience within the charitable and philanthropic industry that he brings to the forefront with IMPACTism. Jack has been a major gifts fundraiser and senior organizational executive working with or consulting to nonprofit and advocacy organizations.


It won’t be long until people are watching the ball drop and making the New Year’s resolutions that they inevitably won’t keep.

But the one resolution your nonprofit definitely doesn’t want to break is mastering donor acquisition. While it isn’t a quick and easy process, your organization can still benefit in the coming years by implementing these strategies before December 31st passes us by.

Here are three great donor acquisition tips to try out before the year is over. For more strategies that you can use year-round, check out these best practices.

1. Communicate in Different Ways

Not everyone responds in the same way to direct mail, and some people detest social media. Make sure that your communications to potential donors are varied enough to appeal to multiple preferences.

Some of the different ways that you can reach out to prospects include:

  • Phone Calls
    Sometimes, a simple phone call to a potential donor can be the perfect way to ask them to give. If you’ve been mailing out materials and sending emails since August, a phone call can be a refreshing way to talk to a prospect who has been thinking of donating to your organization. When prospects can speak to someone within the nonprofit and ask questions, they will likely feel more educated and inclined to make a contribution.
  • Direct Mail
    If you’ve been communicating with older donors, direct mail might be the right route to take. While it definitely comes at a cost (stamps are getting expensive!), it can be a great way to give prospects a tangible reminder of your organization. People can hang postcards on their fridges; they can’t put a magnet on an email.
  • Digital Channels
    While millennials are still the largest demographic of social media and Internet users, other generations are slowly catching up. According to IMPACTism, your nonprofit can’t afford to ignore the ever-growing influence of the Internet. In addition, your organization should consider making your online donation page mobile friendly. Young people enjoy the ease and simplicity of donating online, and if you can help them give on the go, you’ll be more successful for your year-end fundraising.
  • Email
    Emails are still one of the most popular ways for nonprofits to communicate with potential and existing donors. While you should have already been sending emails throughout the year reminding people of ways they can give, ramp up your email campaign in the weeks leading to January 1st. You don’t need to spam recipients (you don’t want your emails to end up in the junk folder!), but send them enough information so that they feel comfortable and confident making a donation to your organization.

These are just a few of the ways that your team can communicate with donors before the year is over. Check out these five additional strategies you can implement for successful year-end giving.

2. Encourage Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Your existing donors already know a lot about the work that your organization does and the mission that you’re trying to accomplish. Why not tap into this resource and encourage peer-to-peer fundraising?

You don’t need to ask your donors to go knocking on strangers’ doors, though. Simply encourage them to speak to their friends, family members and coworkers about the great work that your nonprofit is doing.

Make sure that your existing donors are spreading accurate and positive information about your organization. Provide them with useful resources in your communications that will help them talk to other people about becoming donors on social media, in person, and other channels.

Encouraging peer-to-peer fundraising among your existing donors at the end of the year also motivates them to give more to your organization. When your supporters feel connected to your organization, they are more likely to stick around next year. Peer-to-peer fundraising can be the perfect way to acquire new donors and retain the ones you already have.

Take a look at Nonprofit Hub’s two unique ways that can give your year-end fundraising a boost (hint: one of them has to do with your core donors).

3. Be Direct and Personal

The end of the year is not the time for beating around the bush. Stay away from vague language and long, drawn-out appeals.

Keep it short and simple.

Additionally, personalize the messages that you send out. While this doesn’t necessarily mean hand-writing all of your year-end appeals, it does mean putting potential donors’ correctly spelled names in subject lines and greetings of emails and direct mail letters. Nothing discourages people like not feeling connected to a cause. One of the easiest ways to remedy that disconnect is to personalize your communications.


There are many more donor acquisition tips that can help your nonprofit before the sand runs out of this year’s hourglass. These three tips can be used at any point in the year, but they are especially helpful as December 31st zooms closer toward us.


Jack Karako

November 3, 2015

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