Tips and tricks from nonprofit fundraisers

Welcome back to Grassroots Your Giving Season 2020! This year, we’re reposting some of our most helpful tips and tricks and publishing new content that will help you engage your community of small-dollar donors and give your end-of-year fundraising a boost.

For advice on using AB Charities to foster a strong grassroots fundraising program, we’ve turned to the experts: our users! Read on to learn how SPCA International, Sunrise Movement, Restoring Justice, Corporate Accountability, and Endangered Species Coalition integrate our tools and other grassroots fundraising best practices into their work.


What is your must-have AB Charities tool for giving season fundraising?

SPCA International: The recurring donation prompt. If we can get a good number of our year-end donors to make recurring donations, it means their year-end gift will keep on giving all year long!

Endangered Species Coalition: The most important tool for us is the ability to quickly duplicate forms to create versions for different uses. The goal thermometer and the A/B test tool are also super important to us.

What do you optimize on your AB Charities form for giving season?

Corporate Accountability: We spend the vast majority of our time optimizing the copy and images of our donation pages for year-end. We work really hard to convey urgency and the unique opportunity of the year-end time.

Restoring Justice: This year, we will be trying to optimize for monthly recurring donations.

Endangered Species Coalition: We do tests throughout the year to determine which images are best for specific campaigns and donation amounts. Suggesting a dollar amount that relates directly to something we are working on has also been very successful.

Do you prioritize building a recurring program during giving season? If so, how?

Sunrise Movement: Absolutely! We tend to set really ambitious monthly donor goals and flood our email and socials with asks for recurring donations during the week of Giving Tuesday and in the last week of the year. In 2019, we set a goal of doubling our monthly donors from 3,000 to 6,000 in end-of-year fundraising alone, and we did it! We ran sticker promotions, ads, texting, many emails, and a distributed personal fundraising campaign to get there.

SPCA International: We are always prioritizing recurring giving, but especially during year-end. We make sure the recurring prompt is turned on for all our forms, and we emphasize that starting a recurring gift today will mean you are supporting our mission all year long — giving us a strong base of support for 2021!

What changes do you make to your website to optimize giving opportunities during the giving season?

SPCA International: We call out our year-end giving on our homepage, celebrate the successes of the year, and set goals for the New Year that our donors can really get behind.

Corporate Accountability: We incorporate a prominent hero image that links directly to our donation page, and we use a pop-up box with a direct appeal for a year-end gift. We pair that with blog posts mirroring nearly all of our email appeals, and we switch all the links on our website to year-end specific donation pages (even our general “donate” button)! Finally, on the last several days of the year, we set up a redirect from our homepage to our main year-end donation page, so people first land on a donation page.

Sunrise Movement: We run pop-ups primarily, and in the past we’ve also set up a landing page that is a Sunrise item-by-item “wish list” of organizing tools and their costs that was pretty fun!

What does your messaging look like for giving season? How is that different from the rest of the year?

Corporate Accountability: Our messaging is a mix of relevant advocacy, cultivation (simple, visual thank you messages around the various holiday times), and fundraising asks. For our fundraising appeals, we create a matching gift campaign that runs from mid-November to the end of December with a dollar amount goal, a hard deadline (December 31), and a constantly updated goal thermometer. We also run a separate Giving Tuesday campaign for about a week (starting right after Thanksgiving, and running through to the Thursday/Friday after Giving Tuesday). The campaign has a separate match and usually makes appeals for a joint campaign we are running with local, grassroots organizers. It usually has a lower goal, lower ask amounts, and a very specific focus.

Sunrise Movement: We tend to focus on the next year or quarter’s organizing projects, and make recurring asks for those. We also try to release exclusive content (merch, graphics, or videos) to hype people up.

How are you adapting your giving season strategy to address the COVID-19 pandemic and/or the ongoing racial justice movement?

Corporate Accountability: For COVID-19, the ongoing racial justice movement, and the election, we’re keeping our email calendar and our content areas very flexible. While we’ll have many pieces planned out, we’re trying to leave as much space as we can to adjust to the news cycle and changing conditions. One direct link is that we’re planning to focus our Giving Tuesday campaign on some of the ways COVID-19 has worsened and made visible the injustices we’ve been organizing to change for a long time, especially for Black communities, and other communities of color.

Restoring Justice: We’re focusing much more on digital marketing and trying to connect virtually with donors. We really try to envision who the person is and what they are going through, as they sit and try to engage in some semblance of ordinary life virtually. We try to bring the personal donation ask style to the digital world as much as we can.

Related Reading

Get the best small-dollar fundraising strategies & resources in your inbox.

Email Signup - Step 1

By providing my email address, I consent to receive marketing communications from AB Charities. Privacy Policy.