12 Year-End Fundraising Email Examples to Use This Season - NextAfter
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12 Year-End Fundraising Email Examples to Add to Your Campaign

Published by Nathan Hill

There is no perfect number of emails to send during the year-end fundraising season. But these 12 year-end fundraising email examples give you plenty of options to use as you craft your campaign.

You’ll find email examples that help you cultivate donors, ask for their donation, and remind donors of the year-end deadline that’s approaching.

There are a lot of nuances that go into writing an effective year-end fundraising email appeal. We won’t touch on all the details in the examples below. Instead, we’ll look at the various themes and angles you can use to engage your donors all season.

Ready to see the 12 year-end fundraising email examples? Let’s dive in.

Example #1 – The Thanksgiving Email

Category: Cultivation

When to Send it: Thanksgiving Day (or the day before)

Summary: The goal of this email is not to get a donation – it’s to build the relationship. You’ll be tempted to ask for a donation directly in this email. Don’t do it! Instead let your donors and email subscribers know how grateful you are for them.

You could share a thank-you video, link to an article illustrating the impact of their gift or share a testimonial of how their support has impacted your cause.

Whatever you do, do not ask them for money. Investing in the relationship now will lead to greater return on your donation appeals later on.

Example #2 – The Pre-Giving Tuesday Email

Category: Fundraising Appeal

When to Send it: The Sunday Before Giving Tuesday

Summary: Giving Tuesday isn’t just for organizations with a massive social media following. Any organization can activate their donors and subscribers on this international giving day.

Use the “pre-Giving Tuesday” email to:

  1. Explain what Giving Tuesday is and why it’s important
  2. Explain why a donation is valuable and impactful
  3. Ask them to give right away

You may be tempted to ask donors to simply “mark their calendar,” but experimentation shows that this is not most effective. In fact, one organization that asked their donors to “mark your calendar” for a giving day saw a 29% decrease in giving.

Never ask donors to delay their giving if they are ready to donate now.

Example #3 – The Giving Tuesday Morning Email

Category: Cultivation

When to Send it: The Morning of Giving Tuesday

Summary: Giving Tuesday is all about giving. So why not give to your donors first? Use the email on the morning of Giving Tuesday to share a free resource with your donors and subscribers. This could be a free eBook, a free video series, a free course, or even a survey that gives them a voice.

The key is that they must fill out a form on a landing page in order to access the free resource.

After they activate their free resource, you can show them what we call an instant donation page. This instant donation page replaces a traditional “confirmation page”, and instead presents an opportunity to give.

This is an online donor acquisition model that you can replicate throughout the year.

Example #4 – The Giving Tuesday Afternoon/Evening Email

Category: Fundraising Appeal

When to Send it: The Afternoon of Giving Tuesday

Summary: Now that you’ve given to your donors first (using the previous email example), you can ask them directly to donate. If you have a specific matching challenge, goal, or incentive – make sure you clearly explain it in your email.

Plan to send this email out in the afternoon of Giving Tuesday – giving enough time for donors to have received your first email of the day and taken an action.

Don’t forget the basics:

  • Send your email from a real person
  • Call your donor by their name
  • Explain why someone should give
  • Give them a clear call-to-action

Example #5 – The Year-End Overview Email

Category: Fundraising Appeal

When to Send it: A week after Giving Tuesday

Summary: This year-end fundraising email example is one of the most important. It’s a chance for you to clearly convey what is at stake heading into the new year. And then you can clearly ask donors to give and to make a meaningful impact.

Here’s a brief outline to follow as you write this year-end fundraising email:

  • Say hello and call your donor by name
  • Explain what is at stake in the new year (i.e. goals, challenges, opportunities, etc.)
  • Share evidence of the impact your organization has made to help build trust
  • Announce a matching opportunity, incentives, and the year-end deadline
  • Clearly ask them to donate

Example #6 – The Testimonial Pass-Along Email

Category: Fundraising Appeal

When to Send it: Mid-December

Summary: The testimonial pass-along email is an opportunity to share a story of impact with your donors. Rather than you telling your donors how great it is to give, you can show them just how impactful their support is with a real and compelling story.

If possible, you could even send this email from the person who has been impacted. The more you can do to build credibility and trust the better.

Finally, close this email by asking your donors to make this type of an impact with their donation.

Example #7 – The Accomplishments Email

Category: Cultivation

When to Send it: Mid-December

Summary: The goal of the accomplishments email is to show donors just how much they have been able to do with their generosity. This is not about how wonderful your organization is – but rather how much impact a donation can make.

Show your donors a list of major accomplishments from the past year that have been made possible by their generosity.

Thank your donors for all they have done to make these accomplishments possible. Give them the credit!

And finally, do not ask for money. You could put a soft donation ask in a P.S. But don’t make the donation ask the center point of the email.

Example #8 – The December Holiday Email

Category: Cultivation

When to Send it: On or near your preferred holiday (see the notes below for more detail)

Summary: Every organization will have a different approach with the December Holiday Email.

If most of you donors celebrate Hanukkah, you’ll want to send this email around Hanukkah as a way to touch base, build your relationship, and cultivate them. If most of your donors celebrate Christmas, try sending this email on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. And if your donors celebrate a mix of holidays, send a more generic holiday email.

Regardless of which holiday(s) you recognize in the email, this is a chance for you connect with your donors around your shared values. They may be religious and faith-based values. Or you could simply wish your donors joy and peace during a busy holiday season.

The point is this: connect with your donors without asking for money, remind them of your shared values, and wish them a happy holiday.

Example #9 – The Only Days Left Email

Category: Fundraising Appeal

When to Send it: Last week of the year

Summary: At last, we’ve reached the last week of the year. There are lots of ways you can maximize donations during the last week of the year. And they all revolve around creating urgency.

Ideally, you’ve been explaining why a donation is critical and impactful all season long. The last week of the year is the time to remind donors of the deadline and incentivize them to give now.

Use the email to recap and summarize the most important challenges and opportunities at stake in the year ahead. Commit to tackling these challenges and making an important impact. And then clearly ask your donors to give, reminding them of the deadline.

Example #10 – The December 30th Email

Category: Fundraising Appeal

When to Send it: Morning of December 30th

Summary: Time is running out to give. Remind your donors of this on the morning of December 30th. If you have any new incentives, now is the time to let your donors know.

Can their gift be doubled if they give today? How about tripled?

Has a generous donor offered to cover all overhead costs so their gift can go straight to the cause?

Maybe there’s even a free resource, tool, or special gift your donor can receive if they give before the deadline.

Whatever your best, new incentive is – now is the time to let your donors know and ask them to give before the deadline.

Example #11 – The December 31st Morning Email

Category: Fundraising Appeal

When to Send it: Morning of December 31st

Summary: By the time December 31st comes around, you’re just about out of time to fully explain why someone should give. Keep this email short and to the point. Remind donors of the deadline. Show them how close they are to helping reach your fundraising goal.

Urgency is the name of the game with this year-end fundraising email.

And don’t forget to clearly ask for a donation. Don’t say “Stand with us” or “Give hope.” Instead, say “You can make your donation here: [INSERT URL]”

Example #12 – The December 31st Evening Email

Category: Fundraising Appeal

When to Send it: Evening of December 31st

Summary: Let’s assume the best of our donors with this email: they likely intended to give, but something came up and they haven’t had a chance yet.

Use this email as a simple reminder of the deadline. In fact, you may set it up to look like a forwarded version of the email you sent in the morning – just like a reminder email you might receive from a colleague.

Say something human and authentic like:

“Hi [First Name],

Wanted to check-in to see if you got my email this morning. Will you consider giving before midnight tonight in order help [insert impact here].

You can make your donation before the deadline here: [INSERT URL]”

Bonus Email Example – The Thank You Email

Category: Cultivation

When to Send it: First week of the new year

Summary: After you’ve crushed your fundraising goal by using all these year-end fundraising email examples, don’t forget to reach back out to your donors and thank them.

Don’t ask for an additional donation. Just briefly let donors know the impact their gift is going to make this year and thank them for their generosity and support.

Looking for More Year-End Fundraising Email Examples?

You can get access to our full year-end fundraising email timeline, tested and proven year-end optimization strategies, and tactics to boost giving on your website in the Year-End Fundraising for Online Fundraisers course (free for a limited time).

Published by Nathan Hill

Nathan Hill is Vice President of Marketing at NextAfter.