The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

7 Musts for Last-Minute Nonprofit Fundraising Appeals That Work

Last Minute Appeals

2016 is winding down, but we’re in the midst of the biggest giving days of the year. Make the most of your fundraising efforts with more effective last-minute fundraising appeals. Before you send your final email appeals, give them a quick review to ensure they’ll pay off. (And if you haven’t yet sent a final fundraising reminder, drop whatever you’re doing and create a short, to-the-point email to send to supporters who haven’t given this season.)

Strike on December 30 AND December 31

Giving is spiking this week and will reach the year’s peak on December 31. Your donors will be ready to complete their gifts, so make sure you’re top of mind—and top of inbox—during this window of opportunity.

Make Your Subject Line Do the Heavy Lifting

Remember that your donors are receiving many messages this time of year, so your first job is to stand out and compel them to click your message instead of ignoring it or sending it straight to the trash folder. Shorter subject lines are better, and headlines that create a curiosity gap—an unanswered question in the donor’s mind—work well. Don’t shy away from reinforcing urgency in your subject line as well.

Keep It Short and Get to the Point

The time has passed for in-depth stories and long-form fundraising appeals. Your donors’ attention span won’t allow you to dig in, so your appeals need to be bold and clear. Also, consider that as time winds down, it’s likely your donors may be reading (and acting on) your appeals from a mobile device, so brevity is key.

A Clear Call to Action Is Your Best Friend

Make it crushingly obvious what you’re asking donors to do. A clear call to action is where you deliver the instructions for your donor’s next step. Avoid potentially confusing words such as “help” or “join” and stick with direct asks like “Donate now.” or “Give today.”

Underscore the Sense of Urgency

The end of the year has its own sense of urgency, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t play it up. Remind your donors that time is running out and that great things can happen if they act now—and nothing can happen if they don’t. Deadlines, matching gifts, and incentives all help drive this need to take action.

Take Them Exactly Where You Want Them to Go

One of the biggest mistakes I often see nonprofits make: taking donors to a transition page or anywhere but their online donation page. The more clicks it takes for someone to realize the action you’ve inspired them to take, the more likely they are to bail on you. Include multiple links in your appeal and make sure they all point to your donation page. No exceptions.

Make It Easy

From your website, to your email, to your donation page, your online giving experience should be simple to understand, easy to use, and quick to complete. A streamlined page that keeps donors in the moment of giving and that focuses only on options that help encourage and increase gifts is an easy way to maximize the donations that will come in during these final days of 2015. (Need a better donation page that will help you raise more? There’s still time to get up and running, but talk to us now!)

In a pinch? Try our simple last-minute fundraising appeal template to quickly create email fundraising appeals that will capture those generous procrastinators.


Raise More This Year with Easy-to-Use Fundraising Software that Gets Results

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About This Blog

Amanda Khoury
Marketing Manager

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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