Boost Donation Campaign Results with a Year End Giving Letter

Boost Donation Campaign Results with a Year End Giving Letter

Giving Tuesday marks the start of the end-of-year donation cycle. After the madness of the consumer holidays of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, people feel compelled to offset their seasonal splurge by giving to people in need and other worthy causes.

So, it's key for nonprofits and charitable organizations to formulate a year-end giving strategy. Management needs need a solid multi-channel giving campaign relying on several tactics to drive donations. A year-end giving letter serves the function of soliciting end appeal donations from supporters during the holiday season. 

The annual appeal letter for donations must increase revenues by boosting your supporters engagement with your mission and cause. There are different types of year-end fundraising letter templates sent out by nonprofits during seasonal giving campaigns. In-kind donation letters request items instead of cash, and lapsed donor letters are for past donors who haven't donated in the last 12 months.

A donation acknowledgment letter provides year-end donors with acknowledgment of receipt of their philanthropy for tax purposes. Year-end giving letters notify donors of seasonal donation campaigns and request their support. 

Organizations can send donation letters via direct mail, postcard, email, or a combination of platforms. This guide walks you through everything you need to know about designing, implementing, and measuring a year-end giving letter campaign. 

The Anatomy of an Effective Year-End Giving Letter

What makes a year-end giving letter stand out from the dozens of others donors receive during the giving season? Follow these tips to give your letter the best chance of catching the attention and interest of your target audience.

The Power of Personalizing Your Year-End Fundraising Letter

Personalized letters will always get more attention and traction with prospective supporters. People love seeing their name in print in a year letter; it makes them feel important and valued. It's a psychological marketing ploy, and the reality is it works. 

Personalizing emails and print letters is just the first stage of personalization segmentation. Management will need to segment your donors into active, inactive, and prospective donor profiles to ensure you send them the right content. 

For instance, sending an active donor a request for a first-time donation will make them think you don't know what you're doing. Personalizing your audience is essential to ensure effective list management and optimal return on year end appeal campaign investment. 

Tell a Story with Your Annual Year-End Fundraising Giving Letter

Most donors don't appreciate a dry letter making a plea for money. They want to know the reason behind your campaign drive, what you intend to do with the money, and how you plan to achieve your giving campaign goals. But they want to hear it in an interesting way, not as a selection of bullet points. 

Effective letter writing involves identifying your story with their real-world perception. Your campaign has to mean something to your supporters. It must stir emotions and empathy in them, give them something to relate to and show them how their contributions help to make the world a better place. 

Talk about success stories and your wins, and include quotes from people in the field. Use before-and-after photo shots of your past giving campaign results. Combining written and visual storytelling elements captures more attention and eyeballs to your letter and campaigns. 

Close Appeal Letters with a CTA

A "call-to-action" is a key component of letter writing. It's where you ask for your donors' support directly. Don't play around; be direct and instruct the reader on what you want them to do next. If you've done your job correctly by telling a good story, your reader/donor should be ready to make a decision to donate to your campaign.

A CTA gives them a way to take action on their emotional response to your content. Make it compelling and short. After clicking on the CTA, the donor must receive an easy way to make their donation. 

Using third-party CRM solutions to manage your donation collections and facilitate payments is a great way to improve your giving campaign tracking. Most of these tools integrate with payment systems like Stripe, PayPal, and Venmo. Management can decide on the best option for the nonprofit. 

Automating your letter-writing responsibilities is a great way to leverage technology to improve donor satisfaction and retrieve testimonials. Your Thank you year letters should go out in January, well ahead of tax season. Include the relevant financial details of their gifts for tax purposes and a heartfelt letter of appreciation for their contribution to your cause. 

Crafting the Perfect Year-End Email 

Writing the perfect year-end donation letter requires delivering a balance of information and emotion to your supporters. The letter should convey all the relevant information on your current year giving goals and mission without feeling dry.

You'll need to create emotion in the reader if you want to put them in a mental state where they're willing to click the donate button. The letter should create a sense of urgency around your fundraising efforts, inspiring the prospective donor to help your organization achieve its goals.

Remember that you're trying to cultivate a conversational tone, not a monologue. Using an inspirational story from your past achievements is a great way to connect with the emotional side of your donors. Showing your donor what you've managed to achieve with your organization builds confidence in your future year appeal results with your donor base.

Celebrate all wins and bring your donors in on the celebration with your year end campaign. Use that story as a segue into your new donation request. When the donor is already in a heightened emotional state, it's the best time to introduce your CTA and direct them into taking the next action of donating to your current campaign. 

Focusing on an emotional story creates more engagement with the reader. Engaged donors are more likely to contribute to your campaigns on a repeated basis. Turn one-off donors into monthly patrons and boost your fundraising efforts into the new year. 

Make Nonprofit Design Elements Engaging to Enhance Donor Appeal

You have the option of going with a physical donation letter, printed and mailed to your prospective donor. Or you can go with a  software digital version. There may be some occasions where sending a physical letter to your top donors can be beneficial. Receiving a physical letter gives a sense of prestige to it and feels more personalized.

However, for the bulk of your donation appeals, you'll be sending a digital year-end letter. Digital year-end letters are far more cost-effective to create and distribute. They're also much easier for directly capturing donations. For instance, you can link the email template directly to the donations page on your site, allowing one-click access for the donor that's highly convenient. 

There are dozens of giving email templates available online. Choose a template that matches the design theme for your organization. The font and color should be immediately recognizable and attributed to your organization. 

Some templates come with software integrations included in your design. Set up CTA buttons and link directly to your site. Using templates also allows you to capture prospective supporters information. Your donations page can also include a lead capture form to collect email addresses of people who might be in a position to donate to next year's campaign. 

Your template design should be easy to navigate and read. Place emphasis on a blend of text and images. However, don't make the images too big, as they can choke up the deliverability and opening of your email. The last thing you need is to get your email into their inbox, only for them to delete it because there are images or video content attached to it – stick to strategies that work and don’t overcomplicate things.

Choose a email software provider like MailChimp to distribute your letter to your email database. A powerful email software platform allows you to send a specific number of emails for free every month before they start charging you. So, smaller nonprofits with fewer donors on their list can use this tool and scale it as they grow. 

Timing and Distribution of Mail and Email Fundraising Letters

If you're distributing your physical year-end letter, you'll need to ensure you account for the delivery time via the postal service. Digital tear-end donation letters are sent instantly. The best time to start your year-end giving campaign is in the weeks after "Giving Tuesday" (the Tuesday after Thanksgiving Weekend. 

You have around four weeks until Christmas, and these are the prime giving weeks of the year. Start a drip email campaign on Giving Tuesday and run it through to the new year. These four or five weeks offer you the best window for donations during the year, so ensure you plan your drip email campaign effectively and optimize every chance to raise donations with your year end appeals. 

Tie your year-end giving letter distribution into your social media campaigns. Drive traffic from your social media channels to landing pages where you collect the prospect's email information and name. Add them to the email campaign and make a donation request while they're still a hot lead and ready to give. 

A CRM gives you a software platfrom where you can automate all of these tasks. AI chatbots are available for your donation campaigns to help you collect data and donations from active and inactive donors. Utilizing these technologies in your campaigns drives better results and from your year donation letter and more contributions.

Common Mistakes to Avoid with Your Year-End Giving Letter

Don't overload the prospective donor with too much information. You should aim to give them your goals and what you want from them in as few sentences as possible. Be direct, and don't hesitate to ask for help. Adding filler text to try and hide the fact you're asking for a donation might seem classy, but it's the wrong approach and confuses the donor. 

Ensure you deliver a clean, clear call to action with your year-end giving letter. Failing to tell the donor the next move you want them to take means they'll have to do it themselves, and they might not get around to doing it. By capturing your donor on the first interaction, you reduce the amount of follow-up you need to make in your year-end campaign. 

Follow-up is crucial to activating the donor and getting them to contribute to your campaign. It's best to use a CRM system and drip email campaigns to manage your year-end letter distribution. These platforms allow you to create workflows that automatically remove prospective donors from your list if they make a donation or request to unsubscribe from your email list.

You don't want to keep emailing a donor who contributes as they'll feel like you didn't notice their donation and they're just a number to you. Repeatedly sending emails to donors who don't want your email can lead to higher bounce rates, burnt domains, and complaints about your email delivery.

Some new marketers to year-end giving campaigns may send out generic letter templates to the database without personalizing the letter or the content. This mistake can cost you supporters. Ensure you segment the list properly and send the right content strategy to each donor, matching members interests to their donor role in your organization. 


Use the Right Platform to Measure the Success of Your Donation Letter

Evaluating the success of your year-end donation letter is possible with the assistance of analytics from your email provider, CRM, and Google Analytics. There's a wealth of data available to show you how your recipient engages with your email.

  • Bounce rates show you how many total undeliverable emails were in your campaign. Remove these people from your list to avoid Google and domain providers blacklisting you. 
  • Open rates show you how effective your headlines are and how many people were compelled to open your email and read it. 
  • Click-through rates show you how many people took action on your CTA and clicked through to your donations page.
  • Conversions describe how many prospects donated to your year fundraising campaigns.
  • DLV, or donor lifetime value, is your donor's lifetime value based on the amount they donated to your year-end fundraising campaign.
  • Cost per Click describes how much it cost you to generate each click-through to your donation page.
  • ROI, or return on investment, shows you the total spend vs the total year giving revenue collected.

These metrics allow you to refine each step of the process to improve donations. For instance, if your prospective donor is opening the email but not clicking the CTA, A/B test another email letter with a different CTA to see if it improves results. 

Data analysis serves more roles than just analyzing costs and gift revenues. It's useful for measuring new donor adoption, donor drop-offs, and volunteer recruitment. It's useful in measuring awareness and reach of your content and brand visibility in your market. 

Include a full revision of the data collected after your campaign closes. Use that information to refine your next year-end giving campaign

Case Studies: Successful Year-End Giving Letters

Let's look at a few examples of successful year-end giving letter campaigns. These organizations experienced excellent results with these year-end fundraising email template designs. 

Soddo Christian Hospital

Soddo Christian Hospital’s email template features a live countdown clock to inspire a sense of urgency to donating to the campaign. They focus on the donation to the charity being tax deductible and the bolded text draws the readers eye to the campaign goal and where their money is going. The CTA donate button makes it easy for readers to click to contribute.

This year-end fundraising donation email expresses a sense of urgency by including a countdown inside.

They make it clear who will be receiving the donations and they include a peer donation button, making contributing as simple as possible for donors.

charity: water

This simple email year-end letter plays on the benefits of giving at the end of the year and its mission of bringing clean water to the world. While it's an email template, it can also serve as a physical letter. 

Donors Year-End Giving Letter Sample

Here's an example of a text-based appeal letter for year-end donation campaigns. Follow this template and attract more donations from your year end appeal letters. 


Donor Name

Street Address

City, State, Zip Code


Dear (Donor Name), 

What an amazing year!


This year, more parents turned to (your organization) to find the support they need to cope with raising their family in a challenging and ever-changing world. Your generosity gave these families valuable resources and will impact many homes just like yours. 

This year, we're committed to helping these parents get the tools they need to create a positive impact on the next generation of young Americans. It's through you that this goal is possible.

Please make a donation to (your organization) by December 31 to ensure we can make a change and get off to a good start helping people in the coming new year. 

Your year-end donation will assist us with finding the funds to cover the following.

  • A live interactive website to communicate with parents.
  • Fund new initiatives on parenting resources. 
  • Provide classes on parenting for those needing support. 

Receiving your gift before the end of the year will make all the difference in how these families start their 2024. Please, give now. 

Sincerely yours,

Hand-signed in ink

(name), (title)

(nonprofit organization)

Year-End Giving Letter – FAQs


Q: Why is year-end giving so crucial for nonprofits?

A: The year-end letter is a powerful part of any nonprofit year-end giving campaign. Most nonprofits collect up to 30% of their charitable donations during the holiday season. So, it's essential to know how to leverage this time of year with the right giving and fundraising tactics. 

A year-end giving letter is an appeal to your active and inactive donor bases to get them to contribute to your year end appeal letter campaign. It's the best time of the year for nonprofits to raise awareness and receive the bulk of their annual contributions. 

Q: How can I ensure my giving letter stands out?

A: To give your year-end giving letter an edge over the competition, examine its design and content board. Choose a year-end fundraising template that matches your branding and the holiday theme. The template should be immediately synonymous with your organization.

The content should be short, to the point, and effective. Focus on storytelling and feeding the donor's interest in the CTA. Your CTA should allow for one-click donations to make it as easy as possible to donate to your organization.  

Q: What are the key components of a successful year-end fundraising appeal?

A: Focus on these four components in your year-end letters to make them appealing and effective. 

  • Tell a story and make the donor the hero. 
  • Focus on the donor with your story and how they can make a difference. Play to their emotions.
  • Personalize the content and the title of the email.
  • Give them a way to take action on your request.

Q: How do I measure the impact of my year-end giving letter?

A: There's not much you can do to track the results you get from your physical year-end and fundraising letters. However, Google Analytics offers you a way to track every aspect of your email campaigns and their results. Here are the metrics that you need to include in your tracking results.

Online conversion rate – Open rates, click-throughs, and conversions. 

Average gift size – The average gift size across all donations.

Direct mail response rate – How many people responded to your email year-end fundraising letter?

Return on investment – How much did you spend on the campaign, and how much did it net after costs? 

Year-End Giving Letter - Conclusion

A year-end fundraising letter is a vital component in any nonprofit's year-end giving campaign. There are several benefits to crafting a tear-end giving letter, and we've talked about them all in this post. It's time to put knowledge into action and draft our year-end giving letter. 

A year-end giving letter gives your donor base a call to action to support your cause and projects. It's a way to connect with inactive and active donors and a way of reaching out to them with a targeted appeal that benefits your organization. 

A year-end giving campaign offers organizations a chance to maximize the feeling of generosity in the public during the seasonal holidays. If you don't take action, you're leaving donations on the table. If you need assistance with your year-end giving campaign, reach out to the team at PayBee. Our professionals will create a targeted year-end giving campaign for your organization. 

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