7 Tips For Year-End Fundraising





The month of December accounts for the most donations compared to other months.

The shopping malls have been decorated for the busiest shopping season since September. Likewise, charities have also been gearing up for the busiest giving season! According to 2011 statistics by SG Gives, December accounts for 38 cents of every S$1 donated yearly, much higher than any other month (see chart on the left). Whether it is holiday goodwill, or the tax-deductible year-end rush, donors have consistently been at least as active in the last three months than the rest of the year combined. 

Some large charities have planned campaigns to capitalise on this behaviour since January.  Yet if you are a smaller, resource-strapped charity, you can still benefit from this trend in December – with some simple tips to improve your holiday fundraising! (These tips are adapted from NetworkforGood and the The Chronicle of Philanthropy, both great resources that can improve your online fundraising.)

1. (Re) Inspire your donors.

Whether to a new or recurring donor, use the holiday season to connect them to your passion and vision. Do avoid the “restaurant menu” approach which lists everything in alphabetical order that you did this year. Instead, use stories of volunteers, beneficiaries and other donors to inspire support. 

Photos and videos can also help, like this charity did very creatively.  If there are special stories that invoke the spirit of the holidays, share them!

2. Explain “why donate”.

Keep it simple and laser-focused. Make the case for why someone should care. Explain what happens when someone gives and be as specific as you can. Donors react better to specific, measurable and impactful changes that can be brought about by their contributions – e.g. every S$100 can purchase textbooks for one needy student.

3. Simplify the transaction.

Make it short, simple, easy and safe for the donor to complete a financial transaction. Reduce the number of choices and simplify instructions. Be up to date with your IPC status – it will assure the donor of tax deductability. Make sure your finance office/staff is ready to cope with year-end donations. For example, if you want to reduce cheque-processing load, refer donors to make small donations use online portals like NVPC’s SG Gives. 

4. Thank your donor, thank again and once more.

Remember to thank your donor first when they complete the donation, again when you send the receipt, and then again a few days later. The last thank-you can be a personalised thank you e-mail, or an update of the charity’s work as a result of the donation. 

Try to introduce some customisation (e.g. proper names instead of “Dear Donor”, actual donated amount instead of “your donation”) and inspiration (“more elderly will benefit from the new exercise equipment that your donations helped to purchase”).

5. Cultivate a relationship.

It is about cultivating a relationship with your donors.

Invite your donors to visit your website, “like” your Facebook page, follow you on Twitter, or better yet, volunteer with your charity! Don’t let this donation be the end of the engagement – start building the foundation now for an ongoing relationship. 

6. Leverage your donor’s network.

“This holiday, ask some of your biggest supporters to invite their friends and family to support you. The passion they feel for your cause is incredibly compelling to their circles of influence,” said Katya Andresen from Fundraising123.org. Even simply sharing of your charity URL on the donor’s Facebook wall can leverage the network effect of someone who believes in your work. 

7. Keep and use your data.

Fundraising campaigns do not end when the calendar year ends – these donors should be part of your donor management database! Keep the data on giving trends, and use it well to strategise more effective outreach the coming year. At all times, however, be sure to respect and comply with data privacy best practices and applicable laws.

The above are also good fundraising tips to implement at any time of the year. Try them so that your charity can benefit from the holiday-giving season. Not only can your beneficiaries receive the help they need, your donors and volunteers can give better during this season of goodwill.


Patsian Low is the deputy director of National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre’s Philanthropy Division, which includes the portal Related