Maximizing Year-End Giving Through Strategic Communications

advice appeals ask-to-touchpoint ratio communications fundraising Sep 27, 2021

Maximizing Year-End Giving Through Strategic Communications


On the same day as the autumn equinox, I walked through several stores, including Home Depot and Lowes, looking for some outdoor items - only to see the patio furniture has been replaced with… Christmas decorations? I hardly got my fix of pumpkin spice, and the candy canes and gingerbread flavors are out. In Southern California and Nevada, we have weather in the 80s and even 100s - I can’t help feeling that this is just wrong!  In a few years, “Christmas in July” will have a whole new meaning. 

Years ago, I would have been annoyed that the first day of fall was overshadowed by Christmas. It still makes me roll my eyes, but my protests will not stop it from happening earlier and earlier each year. Inside this cultural phenomenon is a vital fundraising lesson. 

Our donors live in the same world that we do. They are having the holiday season thrust upon them earlier and earlier. And guess what… other nonprofit organizations are jumping on this opportunity to have their appeals start earlier as well. If you wait until December to ask for money, you are far too late. You can stick your head in the sand and protest the early onset of Christmas, or you can adapt your efforts to consider the early Holiday reality. 

A few weeks ago, I replied to a question submission about the best time of year to fundraise, and it remains true that December is the best time for fundraising. However, the other reality of December is that donors are drawn in many directions, and if you do not go out of your way to grab their attention, they will be too busy from Thanksgiving to year-end to give you attention. 

If you are going to ask earlier, it also means you will need to communicate more times. I teach the Ask-to-Touchpoint Ratio - a principle stating that you much have non-ask type communications between asks/appeals to garner donor attention and admiration. We will need to mix in holiday cards, soft reminders, and the use of a theme to carry a campaign for such a duration.

The competition for donors’ attention mixed with the need to ask several times without donor fatigue leads to a busy calendar year-end. Perhaps the holidays starting earlier and earlier can be used to our advantage - giving us more time to fit in all the communications we need to solicit enormous support through “the most wonderful time of the year.” 

To help you get started early, I am offering a complementary year-end fundraising plan that follows the Fundraising Framework, Ask-to-Touchpoint Ratio AND has been proven to deliver exceptional results. 


Launching on FRIDAY, OCTOBER 1st… 
I am offering, for free, a mini-course on year-end planning with resources for you to make this year-end your most successful yet. 


Join my newsletter list to be notified as soon as I hit publish.


Your Year-End-Appeal Planner Will Include:
  • A video outlining the year-end appeal planning process from yours truly.
  • An outline explaining all communications you will send for October, November, and December - with target dates!
  • A calendar template for you to plan your communications. 
  • A Google Doc and MS Word document for you to adjust dates and make my sample plan your own