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Integrating these tricks into your end-of-year fundraising will help you reap the full rewards of donor generosity this giving season.

The holidays are right around the corner, which means it’s time for your big end-of-year fundraising push. In this season of giving, your donors are going to be bombarded with requests for donations, whether it’s from Giving Tuesday campaigns or special Christmas appeals.

The good news is, there are a few simple things you can do to stand out from the pack. Here are some pointers to keep in mind when writing end-of-year appeal copy.  

Create a sense of urgency: Give your donor a reason to donate now instead of just thinking about it (then forgetting!). Use deadlines to motivate giving—but don’t make the deadlines about your organization. Focus on who or what will be helped by the donor meeting the deadline (e.g., “We need to raise $20,000 by December 31st in order to provide students with scholarships next semester.”). If you can, use a matching gift to spur your donor to act. It’s motivating for a donor to learn that if she gives by a certain date, she’ll unlock funds that double her impact.  

Offer your donor a good deal: Donors love to hear that they can get twice as much bang for their buck. If you can, incorporate a matching gift into your call to action to double the value of your donor’s gift. Another way to offer good value is to show how far you can stretch the donor’s dollar to do as much good as possible. An example: “$1.25 provides three hot meals for a hungry neighbor!”

Make the donor the hero: This is a crucial principle in any fundraising writing. Make your appeal about the donor, not your organization. Put her in the center of the story. Show how she can make a real difference to a cause she cares about. Speak to your shared values and who she is as a person.

Harness the power of the headline: Whether it’s a teaser on an envelope or the subject line of an email, a compelling headline is crucial. It’s the first thing your donor sees, and it often determines whether she reads more of your appeal . . . and donates. In your headline, try to use powerful, attention-grabbing active verbs and the word “you.” Use sentences or phrases that spark curiosity—don’t give too much away. A line such as “Will you help hungry children?” doesn’t pique the reader’s interest. Use free tools like Mailmeteor’s email subject line tester to make your headline as powerful as possible.

Keep it simple: The more straightforward your copy, the more quickly donors will understand what you’re asking them to do and take action. Eschew insider jargon as much as possible. If you feel yourself straying from the simple, imagine having a casual conversation with a friend who knows nothing about your organization. How would you describe the problem you’re trying to solve and how they could help? Apply that approach to your end-of-year copy. Look for words to simplify. You can use online tools such as the Flesch Kincaid Calculator to assess how readable your text is.

Show gratitude: The holidays are the perfect time to show your donor some extra gratitude. In your end-of-year communications, let your donor know how thankful you are for her generosity. Go out of your way to remind her what an important part she plays in doing good in the world.  

This is a busy time of year, and donors are being urged to direct their attention—and their generosity—to many causes. But by using these tips, you can craft stellar communications that inspire your donor to make that special end-of-year gift.

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