Yesterday was Giving Tuesday, the unofficial kickoff to the year-end charitable giving season. And so it begins!

Did you know that nearly one-third of annual giving will happen in December?

In fact, the most online giving happens the last three days of the year.

Yet a lot of people will be out of the office - in fact, many nonprofits are closed - the last few days of the year.

That doesn't mean you can - or should - stop fundraising.

Here are some easy ways that you can make it easy for your donor to give in December, even when you're not there to help.


Everyone can help drive year-end giving.

Consider having all of your staff change their auto-reply to something like this:

I'll be out of the office through Monday, January 4.

If you're looking to make a year-end gift, you can make a secure online donation here: YOUR

You may also mail a check to YOUR ORGANIZATION at MAILING ADDRESS. Gifts must be postmarked by December 31 to be tax-deductible in 2020.

Thank you!


If you're in the Development Office, donors are looking to you to help with their giving.

Your development team might consider an auto-reply like this:

GREETINGS! Our office will be closed from December 24, 2020 to January 4, 2021.

If you need immediate information regarding making a year-end gift to YOUR ORGANIZATION, please see the helpful links below.

And if you have any questions or difficulty, please call or text me at 555-555-CELL.

  • To Make a Gift Online:
  • To Mail a Gift: Make checks payable to YOUR ORGANIZATION. Mail to MAILING ADDRESS.
  • Stock Transfer: Wire or ACH Transfer Instructions are available on our website:

End of Year Deadlines: (for your gift to count for tax year 2020)

  1. All credit card transactions must be charged by midnight on December 31, 2020.
  2. All check payments must be postmarked on or before December 31, 2020.
  3. Stock transactions and cash wires must be received and in our account by end of business on December 31, 2020.

Again, if you have any questions or difficulty, please call or text me at 555-555-CELL.

Thank you for your continued support!

Savvy fundraisers might even add similar messages to their email signatures now. That way, you're getting the "how to give" message out with every email you send.


Tip #1. Include a real person's contact name and cell number in your auto-reply.

Many of you will check your email over the holidays. But your donors don't know that.

In your auto-reply, be sure you give a contact name and that person's cell number. That way, the donor who has specific questions about giving knows that they can talk to a real person.

There are plenty of stories of donors with last-minute questions. Even some who take their donation somewhere else, because they can't reach someone at their charity of choice!

Tip #2. Use long-tail URLs in your auto-reply.

That is to say, send donors directly to your giving page - not your home page.

You might be thinking, "But we have a link to our donation page from every page in your website." That's great. (And a best practice.)

However, every time you make a donor click to find what they're looking for, you're increasing your chance that they'll abandon your site.

Every additional click means they might not complete the giving transaction.

Tip #3. As an organization, send a year-end email series.

You sent a fundraising letter. Great! But it's not one and done.

If you want to raise more money at year-end, you need to follow up with an email series.

Here are 2 great videos that will help, both from Steven Screen at Better Fundraising.

The first video is when to send those emails. The second video is what they should say.

And remember, use long-tail URLs as links in your email messages, especially if you're sending a fundraising message. That is, send them to something like - not your homepage (even if your homepage has a link to your donation page).

All of these little things can add up to make a big difference in your final results.

Here's to your year-end fundraising success and a bright new year! Cheers!

Image credit: Pixabay

Want to work on your fundraising messages and methods? So you can raise more in 2021? Laura Rhodes can help.

Send a message to start the conversation and learn how Laura can help you and your organization.

You may also be interested in upcoming training events.