By Lauren Tamboer

With 30 percent  of all annual donations occurring in December, end-of-year appeals are a crucial fundraising strategy for many nonprofit organizations. To maximize your success, start planning your year-end strategy early  our team begins high-level planning with our clients early in the calendar year, setting up a timeframe for increased planning and communications as we get closer to the appeal period.

Follow these 5 easy steps and best practices to level up your end-of-year appeal by integrating social media into your fundraising and marketing strategy.


Step 1: Strategize

Assess: Determine your fundraising goals, target audience, and the best way(s) to reach that audience.  

Plan: If social media will be your campaign’s primary platform, brainstorm creative ways to engage your social media followers to enhance your campaign — think videos, graphics, emotional stories, testimonials from passionate clients or donors, lists, facts, celebrities, and more.  If you’re using a multi-method push, coordinate the timing of your social media efforts with other materials, such as emails or mailers.

Engage: Share your campaign plan with your staff, board, and ambassadors and make it easy for them to help share your content with their networks — provide messaging and contact information, and send them reminders and thank-yous.

Step 2: Get visual with your call to action

Keep your campaign brand-focused across all your marketing channels, and invest in strong visuals. Design bold graphics or select excellent photos that will create an emotional appeal for your posts. If feasible for your team, create campaign videos  57 percent of people go on to make a donation after viewing a campaign video.

Help potential donors understand the true impact of their dollar by showing them what their gift will support. Create a tangible list of items that will resonate with them: $25 will provide 15 meals, $50 will provide supplies for an entire class for one month, $100 will provide shelter for one family for one night.

Lastly, include a clear call to action to donate by either directing viewers to your website where there is an obvious donate button, or include the donate button within your post or advertisement. Although it can be tempting to promote other programs or events, sticking to one simple, consistent call to action will make the biggest impact.

Step 3: Ready, set, post!

If your campaign is focused on a single day, such as Giving Tuesday, begin by building awareness of your campaign before directly asking for donations. If you can devote some of your advertising budget to posts that increase recognition, even better. For more ongoing campaigns, such as through the final months of the year, devoting budget toward building awareness may not apply.

Customize your copy across channels based on what is most effective on each, using exceptional visuals on Instagram and short, clear copy on Twitter. Stick to a consistent theme across your channels, with both visual style and message wording, to clearly associate posts with your campaign. When the end of the year is nearing, create a sense of urgency by noting the limited time remaining. This will encourage those who have considered contributing to take the final action.

Step 4: Measure it to manage it

Assign someone on your team to monitor your posts during the most active times of day on each channel. Ensure you are notified when engagement occurs so you can utilize the opportunity to generate a conversation with your audience. As your campaign continues, keep an eye on which posts get the highest engagement, especially link clicks, and use that to inform your future posts.

Step 5: An attitude of gratitude

A warm and timely expression of thanks is an essential part of your campaign because it continues the conversation with those who have contributed. Social media can be an effective way to place supporters in the spotlight  if they want to be recognized  and show potential donors what their contribution could accomplish.

Remember you don’t always have to be formal or follow the rules  trying something outside the box can grab attention and lead to increased organic reach and engagement. With these tips in your pocket, you’re ready to level up your end-of-year appeal with social media, and showcase the transformative impact of giving.

Looking for a step by step playbook to integrate social media into your end-of-year appeal? We created a downloadable checklist that you can tailor to your own cause.

Have your own tips to share or questions about social media for year-end appeals? Connect with us on social @moonsailnorth!