WORKSHEET: End-of-Year Messaging

August 30, 2017

Building a case statement for why donors should support your end-of-year campaign is a tangible statement. It should be the building block for your end-of-year appeal. Now is the time to take donor-centrism to the next level; everything about your appeal should frame your donor as the hero of the story.

Think about your audience and what motivates them to give. Instead of saying, “Our organization is accomplishing X,” say “Donors like you are accomplishing X.” Focus on the most compelling need your supporters can help solve and incorporate stories that will move the readers to give.

Tangible examples of impact are critical to convince the readers that their support will make a difference. A first impression can make or break the success of these pieces. Along with crafting a compelling subject line, your first paragraph should include motivational language as well as one key thing you want your reader to remember. Writers call this the “one-sentence takeaway,” or the single most important thing that needs to be communicated. Make sure to avoid using passive voice and write to your supporters as if you are having a one-on-one conversation. Use action verbs, avoid lengthy words and sentences, and use the words “I” and “you.” These are easy ways to help readers see themselves as the critical puzzle piece to impact the mission. Don’t be afraid to be explicit in your ask. Make it clear and repeat it as often as you can; many experts recommend including at least three explicit asks in every mailing.

Tangible examples of impact tied to particular giving levels can also be an effective strategy. Providing explanations alongside each gift amount will help your audience make the connection between their support and the mission. And always mention that there is a tax benefit to donating to your organization. For many donors, this is one of the top motivating factors for giving at the end of the year. For email campaigns, keep the message succinct and impactful; try for 250 words or less. Weekly or biweekly updates on a shorter message can keep the momentum more effectively than a single lengthy mailing. And most importantly, make it easy to give. Bold and hyperlink key phrases and sentences to the donation form, and of course, include a donation button too. It’s crucial to have a seamless donation process in place— don’t make your willing donors work hard just to give you money.

This process needs to be mobile friendly too, or you’re sure to be leaving money on the table.

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CHECKLIST: Planning for End-of-Year Giving
CHECKLIST: Planning for End-of-Year Giving

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TIP SHEET: Year-End Accounting Tips from Nonprofit Financial Pros
TIP SHEET: Year-End Accounting Tips from Nonprofit Financial Pros