year-end fundraising email tactics

10 Fundraising Email Tactics You Can Implement for Year-End

Year-end fundraising is in full swing, and nonprofits across causes are implementing different strategies to appeal to their supporters. Keeping your messages top-of-mind (and top-of-inbox) can be a challenge during the busiest time of the year. Here are some fundraising email tactics you can quickly implement to help your appeals stand out. We hope these ideas will help you reinvigorate your campaigns with new ideas in the last few weeks of the year!

Year in Review

A year in review leverages an impact narrative predicated around the idea of a year. This is a stewardship cultivation type of message, and is an opportunity to shout about all of the accomplishments your organization has made in a year. This tactic leverages messages about all that has been accomplished together with supporters over the year. It provides the solution first, then the problem afterwards, and is all about thanking the donors and celebrating what you’ve accomplished together.

24-hour Challenge

24-hour challenges are used to help drive urgency around the institutional portion of your appeal towards the later part of the month. Similarly, they can be used in the mid-month 24-hour or 48-hour flash match appeal. Keep the momentum going with frequent updates throughout the campaign, and consider taking the messaging to other channels outside of email.


Leveraging match funds can be incredibly important if you have them at your disposal. The trick to using them is to try and be as strategic as possible. For example, you may know that some of your donors are going to give no matter what you ask them. For some of your more deeply lapsed donors, or non-donors, you might want to set up a targeted match for those folks only. This helps in a couple respects: 1) it helps to get those non-donors back onto your active file; and 2) it helps you be strategic with limited match funding!

fundraising email tactics

Holiday Cards

Sending a nice holiday card can be a good way to celebrate the joy of the season with your donors. This card doesn’t need to have an appeal as the focus, but is a way to establish goodwill and show your appreciation for their support.

fundraising email tactics

Symbolic Gifts

This can work for any type of organization, even those that don’t have a physical gift or eCommerce operation. It can be as simple as setting up a digital ‘gift giving’ program, or packaging donations in a way that is very specific and tangible (and often benefits specific programs). These gift amounts can be low or high – low gift options can help with new donor acquisition or re-engagement for a lapsed file.

fundraising email tactics

Gifts in Honor of Someone

Encouraging supporters to give a gift in honor of someone is another way to break up the year-end appeal cycle. The holiday moment is a way to change the way you message to folks in December. Try to make those gifts tangible with different price points so donors can understand what gift will be going towards and what impact will be.

fundraising email tactics


The spreadsheet tactic is useful, easy to execute and can drive a lot of transactions. It’s transparent, transactional, and has an ultra-clear goal: to raise more funds to meet a certain goal. A similar approach can be used with hitting a new donor goal (rather than monetary goal) as well. All you need to do is take a screenshot of a spreadsheet and drop it into your email!

fundraising email tactics


Rotating .gifs with thermometers might seem tired at this point, but we’d argue that they’re being used because they still work. They visually help you communicate your organization’s progress towards a goal. If you’re wary of having a public-facing monetary goal, your organization can also leverage donor count thermometers with a goal of reaching a certain number of supporters for your campaign.


Highlighted copy and call-out boxes

This example might not seem pretty, but it drives response because it calls out the most important parts of the email (and leverages compelling language). It feels more homespun, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Fundraising emails don’t always have to be pretty, they just need to be effective!

fundraising email tactics

Tax Deadline

Be strategic with the last week of the year. Reserve the last week to leverage the 12/31 tax deadline, year-end fundraising goal and match offer if you have one available.

As a bonus, here’s a gif our friends at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology leveraged as part of their year-end fundraising strategy. People love gifs. They’re fun, and if you find creative ways to tie them back to your organization, it’s a content win!

fundraising email tactics

We hope these fundraising email tactics will help take your year-end strategy to the next level. If you’re wondering how you can leverage these fundraising strategies in 2022, get in touch with us! We’d love to help.


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