For nonprofits, the winter season isn’t just the time of year we get to reconnect with family members, share gifts, and eat our favorite holiday foods. In fact, the end of the calendar year is one of the most important fundraising seasons of all!

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, donations spike on average as donors get into the giving spirit. During the last three days of the year, fundraising surges even higher with nearly 16% of all donations occurring during that time.

However, even though the holidays are such a popular time for charitable giving, not every nonprofit has a plan in place to take advantage of this fundraising boom.

Some simply don’t have a year-end fundraising strategy to begin with, while others fail to use this time to boost donations to their long-term fundraising projects like their capital campaigns. Do either of these sound familiar?

Not only can the year-end giving season help your capital campaign get closer to its fundraising goals, but when the public phase of your capital campaign coincides with this impactful time of year, you can also expect fundraising success!

Want to learn more about how year-end giving and capital campaigns go hand in hand? In this post, we’ll discuss:

  1. Roadblocks your year-end giving season can face.
  2. How a capital campaign can strengthen your year-end giving.
  3. How your year-end giving season can boost your capital campaign.

Ready to start getting even more out of your year-end giving season and achieving your capital campaign’s most ambitious goals yet? Let’s dive in!

Bonus! Before your team even starts thinking of end-of-year fundraising for your capital campaign, you’ll need to get your campaign in line behind-the-scenes. Visit Aly Sterling Philanthropy for their overview of the best practices to keep in place for your capital campaign.

1. Roadblocks your year-end giving season can face

Although the year-end giving season is historically the most productive and successful for nonprofits across the board, some organizations fail to get as much as they can out of this time of year. Why? Put simply, they don’t have an effective year-end fundraising strategy in place.

To reap the benefits of the holiday giving season, nonprofits need to address potential roadblocks to their fundraising head on.

Luckily, by emphasizing fundraising efforts for your capital campaign during this season, your nonprofit can easily overcome many of the strategic difficulties sometimes faced during year-end giving.

Let’s consider some of the most common roadblocks faced by nonprofits during end-of-year giving and see how incorporating your capital campaign into this season can help your team conquer them.

Undefined Fundraising Strategy

Nearing the end of the year, some nonprofits find it difficult to develop a strong fundraising strategy specific to this giving season. However, by focusing on your capital campaign’s fundraising efforts during this season, your team can benefit from the strategic groundwork you’ve already laid with this campaign.

Vague Fundraising Goals

One big mistake nonprofits often make during year-end giving? They don’t have a defined fundraising goal in sight! If your capital campaign starts picking up steam during the holiday season, you already have a ready-made fundraising goal in place to help motivate both your team and supporters to get closer to the finish line.

Unstructured Gift Size

While on-average gift size rises during end-of-year fundraising, some nonprofits might be leaving money on the table by hoping that donors simply give generously. By emphasizing your capital campaign during this season, you have better standing to request larger gifts.

Donor Depletion

At the end of the year, many of your central base of supporters have already donated and it can be difficult to encourage them to give again. Especially when your fundraising efforts are focused primarily on your annual fund, some organizations find it difficult to keep up fundraising momentum among previous givers.

However, there’s nothing stopping your nonprofit from fundraising for both your annual fund and your capital campaign simultaneously!

You can boost numbers for both your capital campaign and your annual fund by soliciting donations for both during year-end giving. In fact, donors who have already given to your nonprofit’s annual fund earlier in the year make excellent prospects for your capital campaign.

Since they’ve proven their interest in your cause, you may find success in making an end-of-year appeal for your capital campaign.

Bonus! One way to maximize your donors’ giving power during year-end fundraising? Encourage donors to look into whether or not their employers match gifts!

Your nonprofit’s capital campaign is one of the most important fundraising projects on your calendar and your team puts a lot of hard work into carrying it out. Capital campaigns require months of diligent planning and sometimes take years to complete, so it’s no wonder your nonprofit wants to do all it can to make it a success.

While capital campaigns may be stress-inducing at times, as the year-end giving season rolls around your team may actually find that the behind-the-scenes groundwork that you’ve already laid for the campaign can be of benefit to your year-end fundraiser.

Why? By emphasizing your capital campaign during the holiday giving season, your nonprofit gets a leg up in fundraising that simply can’t be replicated by going into this giving period blind.

If your nonprofit is considering pairing your end-of-year giving season with an extra capital campaign fundraising push, you should keep in mind some of these helpful ways your capital campaign can increase fundraising success during these months

You don’t need to develop additional behind-the-scenes collateral.

Part of the capital campaign preparation process typically requires that you develop resources like a gift range chart, a case for support, brochures, and other materials during your feasibility study and quiet phase. Since these resources have already been created for your capital campaign, you can use them to improve your fundraising strategy during year-end giving.

You aren’t starting from fundraising square one.

It’s true: donors are more likely to give to campaigns that are already well on their way to meeting their fundraising goals. When you push for capital campaign donations during the end of the year, donors will consider the progress you’ve already made in your campaign as indication that it’s worth donating during this season.

You’ve already partnered with a capital campaign consultant.

When holding a capital campaign, partnering with a fundraising consultant is an absolute must. Your nonprofit can look to them for guidance through the year-end giving season and for help incorporating year-end giving into your capital campaign’s fundraising plan.

You’ve already built bridges with supporters.

One of the most time-consuming aspects of fundraising is connecting with and stewarding the right prospects. As your organization has carried out your capital campaign, you’ve probably connected with relevant prospects throughout the year; thus, your team is already well on its way to securing their gifts.

By leaning on progress already made over the course of your capital campaign, your nonprofit can easily strengthen the impact of your seasonal fundraising efforts.

Bonus! Has your nonprofit not yet picked the right fundraising consultant for your capital campaign? Consider some of these expert tips when hiring your nonprofit’s next fundraising consultant.

So far, we’ve examined some of the typical roadblocks nonprofits can face that prevent them from making the most of their year-end giving season. Additionally, we’ve covered how capital campaigns can give a leg up to your end-of-year fundraising period.

There’s only one thing left to discuss: how your year-end giving season can boost your capital campaign’s fundraising success.

Half of all nonprofits raise over 50% of their donations each year during this season. Particularly, the year-end giving season is so powerful for nonprofits because it comprises of several annual fundraising high points in quick succession.

However, the donations won’t come rolling in on their own. Your team needs to be aware of the most important dates on your year-end fundraising calendar so your timing is just right when extending asks for your capital campaign.

To make the most of your year-end fundraising push, keep the following dates in mind.


Giving Tuesday takes place on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and is typically seen as the kickoff for year-end giving. Conceived of as a philanthropic alternative to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, donors from across the globe give online in record numbers on this day each year, making it an excellent opportunity to reach out to capital campaign prospects.

The reason why Giving Tuesday is so successful for fundraising? By employing the holiday’s hashtag, your nonprofit can reach more donors than ever by getting in on this trending topic.

Your nonprofit can incorporate #GivingTuesday into your capital campaign’s online engagement strategy by:

  • Encouraging supporters to include the hashtag in a tweet they may send out after giving that announces to their friends they’ve donated to your capital campaign.
  • Sending out a multi-channel message that explains to supporters how they may be able to get their capital campaign donations matched by their employers.
  • Launching a giving page for your capital campaign exclusively for Giving Tuesday that may be shared across your social media pages, email blasts, and on your website.

Because Giving Tuesday is all about boosting your nonprofit’s online engagement, it’s the perfect time to focus on digital strategies for getting the word out about your capital campaign.

New Year’s Eve

More than any other day on the calendar, New Year’s Eve is the most generous day for giving. Whether it’s the seasonal spirit, holiday bonuses or an influx of cash following Christmas and Hannukah, your donors are more likely than ever to give to your capital campaign. If your team wants to make the most of fundraising during this season, be sure to extend your final donation requests of the year on this date.

Want to get started? Make the most out of your final asks of the year by:

  • Extending your New Year’s Eve donation requests at least a week in advance; this way, donors will have plenty of time to make up their minds about giving to your capital campaign.
  • Sending personal messages to high-impact prospects on New Year’s Eve for larger donation asks (be sure to wish them a happy New Year!)
  • Setting a mini-fundraising goal for New Year’s Eve and challenging supporters to help you meet it by updating them throughout the day with their progress.

Getting the most of your year-end fundraising push is all about timing, so don’t miss out on the season’s high points for donation!

Bonus! Want to improve your capital campaign’s end-of-year fundraising chances even further? Check out Double The Donation’s list of 113+ fundraising ideas to get inspired!

Your nonprofit’s capital campaign is one of the most important (and challenging!) fundraising projects on your calendar. Make an extra push for capital campaign donations during your year-end giving season – you’ll be glad you did!

Aly Sterling
Aly Sterling
Aly Sterling is an accomplished speaker, active board member and proud leader of Aly Sterling Philanthropy, a national consulting firm based in the Midwest. Her expertise includes fundraising, strategic planning, search consultation and board leadership development for organizations of varying sizes and capacities.

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