End of Year Fundraising Strategy: Text Messaging Tips to Make the Most of the Final Stretch

7 minute read

It’s crunch time—your Giving Tuesday strategy is set and ready to deploy, and now you’re in the final stretch with big goals to hit by 11:59 pm on December 31st. The time will fly, but there are still many text messaging strategies you can utilize to make the most of your end of year fundraising initiatives.

In 2022, Giving Tuesday revenue declined by 13%, and email revenue specifically declined by 18%. While we don’t know if this drastic decline will continue, it’s important to not put all your eggs in just a few baskets. An effective EOY mobile fundraising strategy should span before Giving Tuesday, and continue through to December 31st, leaving some opportunity to adjust your approach as your organization measures progress towards your fundraising targets.

With December 31st fast approaching, here are some helpful text messaging tips, tricks, and strategies to help you make the most of crunch time and to crush your gifting goals.

Use Your Authentic Voice

Giving Tuesday is getting saturated, and only comes second to December 31st in top giving days. Your organization’s authentic voice needs to shine through, reminding your donors why they’re invested in your cause, and motivated to keep up their support. To stay authentic and focused, keep these approaches top of mind.

Stay on Brand

Reinforce who you are, what you do, and why it matters. Make sure your end-of-year campaign identity is aligned with your brand toolkit, including maintaining your brand voice with personality, emotion, and values. And don’t forget to maintain your brand image via logo, photography, and colors, displaying your organization’s unique flair in both design and voice.

Create Community

Engage your community and nurture supporters to help build relationships that lead to donations. A few ways to create and foster your community via text messaging can include:

  • Give a warm welcome: Send 1-3 texts with shared value and goals before asking for a donation
  • Use inclusive language: Member, sustainer, or a unique name for your community
  • Infuse fun: Create group challenges that encourage donations
  • Capitalize on event buzz: Use the prime time during and after events, forums, webinars and town halls to drive donations, opt-ins, etc.
  • Stay relevant: Target by issue and area
  • Drive urgency and goals with visuals: Use graphics with match/meters that show progress toward a shared goal

Stay Current

It’s crucial for nonprofits to stay current with their fundraising messaging, keeping with the heartbeat of our society and your community. By anchoring messages to real-time news, events, holidays, or even the delightful quirks of the “national day” calendar, you can amplify your relevance and ignite a sense of urgency.

Incentivize & Express Gratitude

In the realm of nonprofit fundraising through mobile messaging, there’s a golden word we must all embrace: incentives. Imagine the power of a simple ‘thank you,’ amplified with a tangible token of appreciation. Offering incentives is not just a strategy; it’s a heartfelt acknowledgment of the support we receive.

  • For first-time donors – Think about a “welcome package” greeting them, solidifying their commitment to your cause
  • For steadfast supporters – Send exclusive content or merchandise to make them feel recognized and cherished
  • For monthly contributors – Monthly donors are the lifeblood of your donor engagement program, so sweeten the relationship by giving unique gifts or discounts through esteemed sponsors and partnerships

And don’t forget that even a simple thank you message goes a long way. Better yet, use an MMS message to show supporters what you’ve accomplished or plan to so they feel more closely connected to your cause.

Activate Your Data

Segment Your Audiences & Target Messaging

Use what you know about your supporters and donors to target messaging to the specific motivations of each group. Whether it’s segmenting by donor type, topics of interest, or affiliations, anything that shows your supporters that you know and value them can go a long way. Not to mention, sending your text messages to smaller, more targeted audiences will help get your messages out faster during high-traffic days at the end of the year.

A few tips to segment your audiences to fine-tune and target your messaging:

  • Current donors – New, multi-year donors, and recurring
  • Past donors – Lapsed donors, or those from the prior year who haven’t yet gifted
  • Volunteers
  • By affiliations or causes of interest

Personalize Your Content

Really connect! Use the data from within your supporter database to personalize your message copy with touches like:

  • Subscriber name
  • Donor history
  • Previous donation amount and/or date of last donation
  • Previous event/rally attendance
  • Hours volunteered
  • Engagement metrics
  • Location and impact of donations to their local area
  • Answers provided in previous campaigns, i.e., dog lover, vegetarian, parent, reason for supporting organization: cancer survivor

Create Engagement & Infuse Fun

The end goal isn’t merely about raising funds—it’s about fostering genuine engagement. Your supporters aren’t just ATMs; they are stakeholders in your mission, and it’s essential that nonprofits continuously provide them with value beyond the contribution to maintain a long term, enriching relationship.

Think about including some of the below activities to engage your audience with fun, interactive content:

  • Video: 57% of online donors make a gift after watching a video
  • Petitions
  • Giveaways
  • Program campaign updates
  • Volunteer opportunities
  • Quizzes and contests
  • Blogs, articles, and other educational content
  • Scan to text with QR Codes
  • Polls or question
  • Current news updates

And don’t forget about the power and flexibility of using MMS messages! Share attention-grabbing images, GIFs or even videos, and take advantage of a 2,000 character limit to tell a more detailed story, educate supporters, and drive urgency.

Crunch Time: A Few More Tactics

If you have 1 week

Strategize a few more big days to keep you cool during crunch time, and schedule the messages ahead of time to help free up time when things get busy:

  • Send at least two broadcasts (the second one almost always performs better) and use MMS in the second broadcast
  • Create a custom graphic to grab attention and stick out from the crowd
  • Show goal progress by including how close your organization is to meeting their goals
  • A/B test a few versions of message and imagery to determine which messages and visual resonate best with your audience

If you have 1 day

Prep your text message for crucial high-traffic days, where there is more congestion on the carrier networks that can slow down the speed of your bigger broadcast sends. For a full list of tactics and tips, download our High Traffic Day SMS Checklist.

  • Use a single SMS, ensuring your messages fall within the 160-character limit and do not spill over into a multipart SMS, which can slow down your messages when carriers are bogged down with traffic
  • Set up dynamic groups that will sync with any updates to your supporter’s profile data, without needing additional work from your team that manual list uploads or static filters require
  • Avoid peak send times like the hour or half hour mark, where many other organizations will be sending their messages, so look to schedule at ‘uncommon’ times such as 1:50 pm.

If you have 1 hour

Take some time to personalize messages using liquid templating. Consider a few different datapoints that you have on your audience to personalize your messages:

  • Name to show you know your individual supporters
  • Location to tie goals and initiatives to their area
  • Join date to show how long a supporter has been with you, or the impact new donors can make
  • Top issue to motivate and tie into the emotions and empathy of your supporters

Want to dive even deeper into end of year fundraising? Check out our recent webinar, “How to Utilize SMS to Exceed Your Nonprofit Fundraising Goals”.

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