3 Fundraising Emails You Need to Send the Last Week of the Year

P.S. All this post, the ideas in it, and data shared are courtesy of NextAfter.

The last week of the year is the most perfect time to send fundraising emails to your donors. Many nonprofits put all their year-end eggs in the same basket: Giving Tuesday. But did you know that Giving Tuesday is not your most important year-end fundraising day? In fact, it’s not even close. Don’t get me wrong. Giving Tuesday is important. According to our data, it brings in 4.3% of online year-end revenue in a single day.

But 37% of all online year-end revenue comes in during the last week of the year.

So whether you skipped Giving Tuesday, didn’t hit your goal, or even if you had the best Giving Tuesday ever – the best is yet to come. But you have to put in the leg work. Since you’re reading this post, you’re in luck.

We’ve done the hard work for you of testing and proving what works to raise the most money online during the last week of the year.

And according to our data, there are three emails you’ll want to make sure and send during the final week of the year to maximize your chances of bringing in the most online fundraising revenue possible.

The three emails you need to send are:

  1. The December 30th email
  2. The Morning of December 31st email
  3. The Evening of December 31st email

With the rest of this post, you’ll see exactly how to write each email.

Ready? Here’s how to write each of the 3 emails to maximize your online year-end revenue during the last week of the year.

1. The December 30th email

This email is the first of your final year-end emails. It’s setting up your final push for donations.

Here are the four things you’ll want to do in this first email:

  • Call your donor by name (i.e. “Hi Jocelyn,”)
  • Acknowledge the deadline and the urgency to give (see the example)
  • Announce any new incentives to give now (matching challenges, free content, etc.)
  • Ask for an immediate donation

If you haven’t been communicating frequently with your donors via email, you may want to take a bit more time in this email to explain your value proposition.

Your value proposition is the answer to this fundamental question: “Why should I (your ideal donor) give to your organization, rather than to some other organization, or not at all?”

If you’ve explained your value proposition thoroughly throughout the year-end season already, you can keep this email short and to the point. Use it to really highlight your year-end deadline.

2. The Morning of December 31st

This email doesn’t need to rehash all the reasons a donor should give. Instead, it should serve as a reminder that you haven’t received their donation yet.

Here’s what to include in your email the morning of December 31st:

  • Call your donor by name
  • Acknowledge the deadline and the urgency to give
  • Tell them that you haven’t received their donation yet
  • Announce any new incentives to give before the deadline
  • Add a countdown clock
  • Ask for an immediate donation

Again, this email doesn’t need to be too long. Try to use this message as a reminder of the deadline and to create urgency to achieve your goal.

3. The Evening of December 31st

This final email is really simple.

Imagine you emailed your coworker and they never responded. You might find your original email, hit forward, and send the email to them again with a brief note saying, “Did you see this?”

That’s exactly what you should do with this final email on the evening of December 31st.

Resend your email from the morning, but include a personal note at the top reminding your donor that you need their gift before the year-end deadline.

Here’s what to include:

  • Resend your email from the morning
  • Add a short and personal note at the top restating the deadline
  • Ask for an immediate donation

One more time – don’t overcomplicate it.

Write some short, personal copy and copy/paste your email from earlier below it. This email should look like a forward.

There’s more to maximizing year-end donations than just sending emails

While these three emails will go a long way, they’re not everything you need for the last week of the year.

You’ll have highly motivated traffic on your website that you need to maximize. And you’ll want to optimize your donation page for your final year-end push.

I’ve outlined five specific strategies for you to maximize your existing web traffic during the final week, as well as five ideas to optimize your year-end donation page in a free eBook for you here: https://www.nextafter.com/maximize-your-online-fundraising/

I hope these ideas help!

Let me know in the comments what other ideas you’re testing in order to maximize your year-end donations.


Nathan Hill

Nathan Hill is the marketing director for NextAfter – a fundraising consultancy, research lab, and institute on a mission to unleash generosity. Having worked at both large and small nonprofits, he understands the day to day challenges of running nonprofit programs while also trying to manage fundraising, marketing, websites, emails, advertising, and more. Nathan has trained hundreds of nonprofit marketers and fundraisers in proven online fundraising strategies including PBS, Save the Children, The Humane Society, and more.

December 7, 2020

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