Year-End Fundraising Ideas: 14 Successful (Yet Underutilized) Strategies

There’s a chill in the air and everyone’s enjoying their pumpkin spiced lattes and hot cocoa. Soon, we’ll spend our days purchasing holiday gifts for loved ones, baking, and gearing up for visits from family and friends. Naturally, our personal to-do lists grow increasingly long as year-end nears. As fundraisers, you’re also in charge of putting together end of year giving campaigns for your nonprofit.

Aside from the normal holiday hullabaloo, you’re also busy planning fundraisers and engagement opportunities to round out your organization’s calendar year. Since you probably raise a good percentage of your fundraising goal during the month of December, you have to make the time count!

Knowing how much time and effort you spend planning events and campaigns inspired us to create this resource to inspire you with these successful ideas for end of year giving campaigns.

Try these 14 successful, yet underutilized strategies to help you raise more money and create stronger relationships this year-end.

1. Start Planning End of Year Giving Campaigns Immediately, Even If It’s A Fundraiser You’ve Done Before

When it comes to fundraising, the early bird definitely gets the worm. You don’t want to start planning your year-end campaigns at the beginning of December, even if you’ve already held a similar fundraiser before.

Instead, give yourself a solid 4-6 week time frame (pre-December) to hammer down your year-end fundraising details so you’re ready to go on kickoff day. That way, you’ll give your team enough time to prepare marketing efforts, finalize logistics, and recruit and mobilize personal fundraisers (if you’re running a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign).

Early preparation is key in ensuring a successful campaign.

2. Mobilize Your Closest Friends

We often forget to ask our nonprofit or charity’s most loyal friends for help before a fundraiser begins.

Personally, I’m a big fan of asking those serving on the board of directors to not only donate first (which is a given) but to also volunteer with fundraising efforts.

By using community-driven fundraising techniques, such as making phone calls, sharing the campaign online, connecting you with prospective donors, or using their community connections to broaden your campaign’s scope, your board can kickstart the fundraising efforts.


Your Board of Directors can be a great starting point for your fundraising efforts.

The same goes for your major donors, long-time volunteers, and others who’ve shown commitment to your cause over the years. When you mobilize your biggest supporters first, your year-end fundraising efforts start off on the right foot.

3. Build Strategic Partnerships For Your End of Year Giving Campaigns

It’s always good to be reminded that nonprofits and charities aren’t in competition with one another. In fact, a community needs organizations working together to ensure a healthy support system for all.

You may find that it’s in your best interest to work together on a year-end fundraising campaign. And, in doing so, there’s potential for your base of prospective supporters to grow.

4. Ramp Up Your Community-Driven Fundraising Efforts

We mention community-driven fundraising a lot and we’ll dive into some specifics further down in this list. But it’s true: one of the best ways to elevate your year-end fundraising to the next level is to incorporate not one, but multiple forms of community-driven fundraising into your fundraising plan.

Whether it’s engaging with your supporters on social media and asking them to comment and share your posts or running a full-fledged peer-to-peer campaign, the minute you incorporate your tight-knit community, momentum is soon to follow.

Ensure you’re using community-driven fundraising with each year-end fundraising activity. Never forget to ask people to share your campaign with others.

5. Segment Your Donors

It’s not always advisable to take a “one-size-fits-all” approach to fundraising because your supporters have different income levels, motives for giving, interests, and intended engagement levels.

As you plan your end of year giving campaigns, segment your donors, paying special attention to lapsed and first-time donors. These are your most vulnerable donor segments  that need nurturing. Send out targeted messages that help to turn these people into returning or recurring donors.

Kerri Moore, marketing director at Booster, Created by Customink knows a thing or two about donor segmentation. She believes “Knowing which donors require more of your attention will help you allot your time, resources, and funds wisely.”

Try personally reaching out to lapsed donors with a phone call to recapture their support. Or, plan a holiday party where you connect first-time donors with long-time givers.

6. Connect Your Donors To Your Work With Volunteer Opportunities

According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, those who volunteer for a cause give almost twice as much as other donors. One reason is that volunteering gives your supporters an inside look at the work your organization does, as well as the need that remains.

This year-end, plan a fundraiser that gets supporters working to support your community-driven fundraising efforts. It can be a peer-to-peer fundraiser that mobilizes supporters to become personal fundraisers, or simply asking your supporters to share your cause with a handful of friends and family.


Faith Gives is an annual fundraising and volunteering drive for Grapevine Faith Christian School.

7. Plan An Online Peer-To-Peer Fundraiser

Speaking of donors becoming volunteers, this year-end, consider running an online peer-to-peer fundraiser.

Peer-to-peer fundraising, a community-driven fundraising technique, is a way to energize your supporters and get them to support your cause, not just by giving money, but their time and efforts.

When you plan an online peer-to-peer fundraising campaign using CauseVox, we provide you with a user-friendly interface to both manage your campaign progress and keep track of your personal fundraisers. Plus, it’s as easy as pie to get started!

The Dream Academy  is one of the thousands of organizations using peer-to-peer fundraising to power their end of year giving campaigns.


The Dream Academy gives supporters the chance to make a donation or create their own peer-to-peer fundraising page.

Especially as the year ends, schedules get tight. An online peer-to-peer fundraiser gives you the benefit of fundraising 24/7 so you can reach all your current and potential donors.

8. Plan Impact-Driven End of Year Giving Campaigns

You’ve raised money all year long using different techniques from direct mail to email marketing. Most of the time, you’ve asked for money to create change. But sometimes, your donor may appreciate a campaign that focuses entirely on impact.

Instead of stressing the dollar amount you need to raise, focus on the impact occurring. How many people do you need to serve? How many acres of wetland need to be mitigated? When push comes to shove, this is why your donors support your cause.


Postpartum Support International added an impact figure of “Number of Families Reached” for their annual ClimbOut Campaign.

If you’re using CauseVox to power your fundraiser, use our impact meter to track progress. Otherwise, try a traditional thermometer or post a funky impact-inspired infographic on your site.

9. Go Wild With Social Media

Social media has become one of the nonprofit world’s most valuable communication tools. It allows us to connect with our supporters in a way we weren’t able to before.

This year-end, try a social media fundraiser. Here are 2 suggestions:

  • Facebook Live Campaign: Prepare your supporters ahead of time about the campaign. When the time comes to kick off, your followers will receive a push notification that you’re “LIVE.” Give your audience a tour of your office, get a guest speaker, or do something crazy to encourage people to give.
  • Snapchat: Tap into the ever-growing population of millennial donors using one of their favorite platforms. Create fun, engaging Snapchat stories using your most creative campaign themes and calls to action.

Aside from helping you to raise money, social media allows campaigns to be shared with little effort on the part of your supporters.

10. Secure A Gift Match

Gift matches are nonprofit gold. They are a guaranteed way to increase the exposure of your end of year giving campaigns, create a sense of urgency, and ultimately leverage your donor’s gifts.

This year-end, partner with a local business or major donor to secure a gift match. Anything, from $500 to $5,000 or more can help to double your campaign results and help you meet your fundraising goals.

Here are our tips on promoting your matching gift to your audience.

11. Phone-a-Thon

Every single October, my alma mater gives me a call to ask for money. But, they’re the only charity/nonprofit/university/organization that actually calls me for a donation anymore, and that’s surprising considering how much the nonprofit world relied on phone-based fundraising in the past.

This year-end, spice it up with a phone-a-thon. First, analyze your donor base. If the pool of donors is too large, target a segment of them such as those that are lapsed, new, give major gifts, or those that have given year after year without fail.

Encourage your staff and volunteers to make the phone calls. If anyone’s a bit “phone shy,” consider creating a simple script. The wonderful thing about the phone is that it’s a very personal way to connect with your donors.

Surprisingly, phone fundraising is a successful way to get the job done!

12. Do Something Crazy (Challenge for Charity)

Some of your donors may be bored with the same ol’ fundraiser and as more campaigns “go viral,” your donors are going to start wondering what your cause is going to do to break the fundraising mold, so to speak.

So, give them something to look forward to with a year-end challenge. Hold a “Who Looks Like Santa” contest, have supporters grow facial hair, challenge donors to run a 5k every weekend in December— it doesn’t matter what you choose, as long as it’s fun, funky, and different.

year-end fundraising-challenge

You can promote your crazy charity challenge online on your website, a fundraising website, or social media.

We’ve got all kinds of challenge ideas and more in our 150+ Fundraising Ideas article!

13. Host a Gala or Virtual Gala

Bring your community together with a Gala fundraiser. The end of the year is a perfect opportunity for you to host a gala to celebrate community and share memories of your year together.

Now with the popularity of services like Zoom and Youtube, you can host virtual or hybrid galas to make your event accessible to all your supporters. 


Mentor of the Year Awards hosts an annual fundraising gala.

14. Connect Your Campaign to #GivingTuesday

One of the best ways to engage a wide audience for your end of year giving campaigns is to connect it to #GivingTuesday. This is an international day of giving when millions of donors open their hearts (and their wallets) to support causes that matter to them. 

#GivingTuesday presents an unparalleled opportunity for you to maximize your fundraising this year-end. In 2021, giving in the United States alone totaled $2.7 billion. #GivingTuesday can be a kick-off event for your larger year-end campaign. Consider setting a goal for #GivingTuesday and then augmenting it for your end of year giving campaign. 


#GivingTuesday fundraising campaigns can be enormously successful. 

Creating an End of Year Giving Campaign: A Step-by-Step Guide

Not sure how to follow up on these amazing ideas with a winning fundraising plan? Follow this step-by-step guide

1. Start Planning in Q3

You don’t want to find yourself rushing to put together a fundraising campaign before the end of the year. To ensure that you have the time available to do it right, start planning for your campaign in Q3. This will give your staff, volunteers, and community enough time to learn about and prepare for the event. But no worries if you’re too late on that this year; you can still pull off an amazing campaign if you put in the work!

2. Review Last Year’s Year-End Giving Campaign

If you held an end-of-year giving campaign last year, look back on your goals and any feedback you received. Debriefing on a previous event will help you refine your goals and your plan for this year.

3. Determine your Goal

After you’ve taken a look at how much you were able to raise last year, set a realistic goal for this year’s year-end fundraising campaign. Remember: Donors like to be a part of a winning team. Don’t set a goal that will be difficult for you to reach. It’s better to overachieve than risk raising less than you planned.

4. Segment your Donors

Donor segmentation is a vital step for any fundraising campaign, but it can be especially helpful for end of year giving campaigns. Chances are, you will be reaching out to community members via email at some point for this campaign. By dividing your donor list into groups, you could see up to an 18% increase in successful donations. If you’re not sure how to segment your audience, consider using the following categories:

  • New/recurring donors
  • High/low donors
  • Demographic or geographical location

5. Build out the campaign or event and test it

With CauseVox, you can create a fully optimized donation page for your campaign. CauseVox’s all-in-one approach includes event ticketing, peer-to-peer pages for your supporters, and more. Once you have your campaign page set up, make sure you test it. You wouldn’t want your donors to have trouble making donations when the time comes.

6. Recognize donors

After your event or campaign wraps up, you’ll want to thank your donors and potentially recognize them publicly. Thanking your donors is an essential step in retaining your year-end donors.

End of Year Giving Campaigns FAQs

  • What is a year-end giving campaign?

End of year giving campaigns are fundraising campaigns that takes place at the end of the year. Simple as that.

  • Why is year-end giving important?

You may be asking yourself why these campaigns are any different than your other events and campaigns. The answer lies in the engagement and the opportunity for profit. On average, nonprofits receive 50% of their annual donations between October and December. Capitalize on the generosity of donors at the end of the year with a winning end of year giving campaign.

  • How do you run an end-of-year giving campaign?

Check out our list of year-end fundraising ideas as well as our step-by-step guide above to learn how you can run a successful end-of-year giving campaign.

  • What are giving campaigns?

Generally, giving campaigns are opportunities for you to engage your community to fundraise for your organization. They generally have specific time frames, goals and themes attached to them.

  • How do I ask for donations at the end of the year?

Writing a successful year-end fundraising appeal can be a difficult task. You will have to make it stand out among the pack of fundraising requests that donors are likely to receive at the end of the year. Luckily, this guide has everything you need to write the perfect year-end appeal.

  • How long should a fundraising campaign last?

Fundraising campaigns should always be tied to a specific time frame. The length of your campaign will likely vary depending on the theme and your goal. However, it is best to aim for between a week and a few months. Any shorter and your community may not be aware that it’s happening. Any longer and you risk losing some of their engagement. 

Get Started With Your End Of Year Giving Campaigns

The end of the year is fast approaching. What are you doing to capture those last donor dollars? We hope these successful, yet underutilized strategies help kickstart your own year-end fundraiser planning.

For additional help planning your year-end fundraisers, check out our 60-Day Year-End Fundraising Plan.

Here are some additional resources you may find useful:

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2017 and was updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness in October 2022.