Throughout the year, nonprofits send out numerous letters and emails to their donors. When coupled with a well-crafted narrative, these messages help keep supporters updated on the ongoings of the organization while reinforcing the importance of their continuous support.
So what sets the end of year fundraising email apart from all the other correspondences? Why is it so important? And how can your nonprofit best take advantage of this messaging opportunity?
This article will answer these questions by providing you with some great tips on how to write successful end of year fundraising emails.
What is an End of Year Fundraising Email?
The end of year fundraising email is a message sent to donors between Giving Tuesday and Christmas Eve. While at first it may seem no different than other fundraising messaging, these correspondences tend to tap into themes of gratitude, generosity, self-reflection, and ambition to craft their story and appeal to their donors.
While there are no hard-set rules for them, a successful end of year fundraising email will often take advantage of the season’s atmosphere to thank supporters, reflect back on the nonprofit’s accomplishments from the past year, and set new goals for the year to come.
When the right tone is struck, the end of year fundraising email should convince supporters to give a final end of year donation.
Why is an End of Year Fundraising Email Important?
While an end of year fundraising email certainly functions as a means to raise more money for your nonprofit, there are other reasons why this particular email stands out against other forms of communication between your organization and its donors.
As mentioned above, the end of year email typically taps into themes of gratitude, generosity, self-reflection, and ambition with its solicitation narrative.
The theme of generosity goes hand-in-hand with feelings of gratitude. By thanking the donor for their generous support, the end of year fundraising email makes them feel appreciated, letting them know that their contributions are not taken for granted.
By looking back on your past accomplishments, the end of year email also presents the donor with proof of what their support has helped your nonprofit achieve.
Finally, the ambition emphasizes that your journey together is not over. You still have bigger goals to achieve and bigger obstacles to overcome, and your donors’ support is crucial when facing what lies ahead.
As you will not be the only nonprofit soliciting donations at this time of the year, it is important that your end of year email reminds your donors of why your cause matters.
How to Write an End of Year Fundraising Email in 5 Steps
Now that you have a better understanding of what an end of year fundraising email is and why it is so important, it is time to go in-depth as to how to successfully draft one.
1. Focus on Your Donor
While we talked a lot about the importance of self-reflection and ambition, you must remember to keep this email focused on your donors and how they are helping your nonprofit succeed.
As the year comes to a close, you are not the only one who is evaluating your performances and achievements and making resolutions for the future—your donors will be doing so as well. You must prove to them that their support was not only worth their time and money, but that it will continue to be so in the year to come.
While crafting your narrative, you must center the donor and the part they play in the story you tell. Make the donor a hero; make them part of the bigger cause.
In other words, tie the message of your mission and the themes of gratitude, self-reflection, and ambition to your donors’ generosity. Some of the ways you can accomplish this include:
- Using you-focused language
- Talking about the amount of funds raised so far thanks to the donor’s help
- Tying your ability to overcome obstacles to the donor’s support
2. Make it Personal by Telling a Good Story
In order to persuade people to donate, you must tell a compelling story.
While statistics and numbers can be helpful in emphasizing the scope of a problem and the steps needed for a solution, the human heart connects first and foremost with individual stories.
People, animals, the planet…The things we care about most are not abstract numbers on a screen. The best way to remind your audience of the importance of your cause is not through statistics but through personal stories.
While not an end-of-the-year fundraising email, take a look at the way the Animal Humane Society talks about its partnership with veterinary specialists.
Note how they include pictures and how they reference doctors by name. All of these help make the issue and the work feel less abstract to potential donors.
Storytelling helps you create something concrete and relatable, showing emotional proof of what your donors are fighting for and how their efforts are contributing to the solution.
3. Reflect Back on Your Achievements
As it has been mentioned before, the end of year fundraising email is the perfect place to reflect on the past year.
Some of the things you can reflect on include:
- Campaigns you ran
- Events you hosted
- Obstacles you overcame
Make sure to attribute these achievements and your ability to overcome hardship to your donor’s continuous support. Thank them for sticking by your side the entire time, emphasizing how you could not have done this without them.
Make this a narrative about victory, about how, in this past year, your donors helped your nonprofit beat the odds, achieve your goals, and get one step closer to fulfilling your mission.
By tying your success in the face of hardship to their donation, you emotionally invest your donors in your cause so that your success is their success.
4. Create New Goals
Though stories typically end with a happy and victorious ending, don’t end yours there. After all, the end of the year is not the end of your mission, and while you have achieved a lot, there’s still a long road ahead of you.
There’s a fine balance you must strike when drafting this part of the end of year fundraising email. You must stay positive and hopeful while also emphasizing the new challenges you’ll face ahead. Remind your donors why their continuous contribution is still needed by giving them concrete ideas on what you hope to accomplish in the year to come.
You can talk about:
- How you plan on building upon this year’s accomplishments
- Plans about next year’s fundraising events
- New campaigns you wish to run
You don’t need to go into details if you don’t have those yet, but well-selected and well-phrased hints towards a bigger goal can go a long way into inspiring confidence in your donors.
This is also where you can put your call to action. You’ve shown proof of your previous good work, laid out a plan for the future, and now you can ask your donors for a final donation to prepare you for the battles ahead.
See how the Human Rights Campaign’s donation page asks visitors to “use your voice” to come together in the fight for equality for LGBTQA+ individuals? After explaining your plans for the upcoming year, a link to a call-to-action like this helps incentivize donation.
5. Thank Your Donors
Sentiments of gratitude should have been embedded throughout your entire letter. But the fact that your tone and your story expressed your appreciation for your donors does not mean you can get away without saying “thank you.”
The end of the year is a time of generosity and gratitude. While you want to draft an end of year fundraising email that will tap into your donor’s generosity to get them to donate, you should also be generous and gracious, explicitly thanking your donor for all they have done for you.
Acknowledge that you understand that not everyone has the financial means to contribute to such efforts, but that every amount helps, no matter how little it may seem. Thank your donors for caring, for being generous, and for sticking by you through this long, tumultuous, but incredibly rewarding journey.
Wrapping Up: How to Write an End of Year Fundraising Email for 2023
A fundraising email is one of the main methods through which nonprofits communicate with their donors. Throughout the year dozens of messages are sent soliciting donations to help with both operational expenses and campaigns.
But by tapping into the season’s generous atmosphere and weaving themes of gratitude, self-reflection, and optimistic ambition, the end of year fundraising email sets itself apart from all others.
Now that you have a better idea of how to best incorporate these sentiments into your messaging, you can begin drafting an end of year fundraising email that will motivate your donors while making them feel appreciated for supporting your nonprofit so far.