It’s time to prepare your End-of-Year appeal

It’s time to prepare your End-of-Year appeal

As 31% of all annual charitable donations take place in December, the end-of-year fundraising appeal is a decisive moment to connect with your supporters.

In 2018, offline giving made up 91.5% of total fundraising, according to the Blackbaud Institute.  Another survey by Campbell Rinker, discovered that 43% of donors say they’ve donated in response to letters in the past. In contrast, only 28% of donors say they’ve given in response to an email, and 23% through fundraising events.

With Covid-19, charities rely even more of their direct mail donations, after having to cancel face-to-face fundraising events.

The envelope

The outer envelope of your end-of-year appeal is the first impression your donors will have of your campaign. That’s why the design and words used on it are important to set the tone and urgency of your appeal.


The letter

Use their name

Research has found that adding a person’s name and other personalised information (along with using full colour) can increase the response rate of a direct mail campaign by up to 500%.

Addressing your donor by name rather than “Dear Donor” makes your mail piece feel more personal and shows how their contribution can make a difference to the cause.

Use “You” Language

Donor-centric communication is the basis of a successful end-of-year appeal. Using the word “you” makes your donors feel valued .Frame the letter so that the donor can see how their contribution has made a difference in the lives of others and in the cause they support.


Personalised landing pages (PURLs)

When a donor accesses their unique, personalised URL (PURL), they are sent to a web page that includes their personal information, such as their names. The message and imagery in this page can also be personalised to them. That is, you could have different copy and images for long term donors, volunteers, lapsed donors and new ones. This personal touch can increase response rates 20-30 percent.

You can use this PURLs as a way to send your donors to a page where they can donate to your cause, fill their CHY3 form or even just update their contact information. 

Highlight the Importance of Their Support

Remind donors that their donations, volunteer efforts, and support make a difference to the lives of others and your cause.

By telling donors exactly what their previous donations has allowed you to do in the past, you show them the results of their contribution. This makes them more likely to continue to support you and your work.

Suggest a gift amount

If your donor has made a donation previously, note that donation amount and ask if they can help with an increased amount this year. Research shows that calls to action that suggest donation amounts are 50 percent more successful than open-ended requests. 


Sign the Letter

Have a leader in your organization sign the letter to connect with more donors. This may seem like a minor point, but it’s critically important for making your letters personalized and genuine.

The importance of inserts

Inserts can serve as way of furthering your communication and relationship with your donors. Some of the more common inserts are:

  • Year in review/impact results
  • Examples of how gift values are used
  • Hand written notes from people affected by the donation or from one of your directors.
  • Thank you letters
  • Activities
  • Relevant information about topics related to your cause.

End-of-Year Appeal Campaign Metrics to Track

Appeals Sent

How many individuals received an appeal from your organization?

Donations Received

How many individual gifts did you receive? What percentage came from each donation channel?

Total Fundraising

How much money did your year-end appeals raise? Did you meet last year’s end-of-year fundraising goal?

Major Gifts Received

What percentage of your year-end appeals resulted in major gifts from new or existing major donors?

Follow Up on Your Year-End Appeals

Thank Your Donor

Show donors your appreciation of their gift by sending a personal thank-you note. Recognise how their gift will help other people and the difference it will make.


Contact Unresponsive Donors

If a donor doesn’t respond to your first appeal, you may choose to send them a reminder. Make sure, however, that your reminder doesn’t sound like a demand for money.

Update donor data

Make sure you are keeping your data about your donors updated. This allows you to keep communicating with your supporters. Keeping your data updated and clean also helps you to ensure your organization is GDPR compliant.

Contact us now!

Azure Communications is the trusted partner of more than 25 Irish Charities. We have the experience and expertise to help create your end-of-year appeal campaign.  Call us at (0)1 531 2695 or email