The Power of Storytelling in Your Year End Giving Campaign

The Power of Storytelling in Your Year End Giving Campaign

The Power of Storytelling in Your Year End Giving Campaign

It’s never too early to start prepping for your year end giving campaign. It’s a big part of your fundraising for the year with roughly 26% of nonprofit revenue coming in during December. Not only that, all nonprofits are also trying to raise more money during this time of the year so your donors are getting hit by everyone to make their year end gifts. How can you cut through the noise and reach (or exceed) your year end goals? One way is storytelling and how you share impact with your donors. In this blog post, we will explore the profound importance of storytelling in the context of your nonprofit’s year-end giving campaign.

Build Human Connection

At the heart of every successful nonprofit is its ability to forge connections with donors and supporters. Storytelling is the conduit through which these connections are built and nurtured. By sharing compelling stories about the impact of your organization’s work, you can humanize your mission and make it relatable. People are more likely to support causes they emotionally connect with, and stories are the perfect vehicle for evoking those emotions.

This is incredibly important when it comes to building connection with Millennials (26 – 41) and Gen Z (10 – 25). Take the story and turn it into short form videos you can share in emails and on social media. This will help build connections and help you stand out amongst other organizations.

Be Engaging and Memorable

Facts and figures are important, but they can be dry and forgettable. Stories, on the other hand, have the power to engage and captivate your audience. A well-told story can transport donors into the world of your organization, allowing them to see, hear, and feel the impact of their contributions. Stats may excite them in the moment, but stories are things they remember. This is because it creates that personal connection. Yes you may serve 1,000 meals a week, but hearing the story of the child who’s grades went up this year because they were able to get a healthy dinner and not go to school hungry means more! Plus, for the donor, they can feel the impact their gift is making.

Demonstrating Impact

Donors want to know that their contributions are making a difference. Storytelling provides an effective way to demonstrate the real-world impact of your nonprofit’s work. Sharing success stories, testimonials, and case studies can show potential donors that their support matters and can help effect positive change. Your organization may have multiple areas of impact and that’s ok. During your year end campaign pick one that will make the biggest impact. It doesn’t mean that you’re only raising funds for that purpose, but that you’re creating content around one message that you can share throughout the weeks of your campaign.

Building Trust

Trust is a crucial element of successful nonprofit fundraising. By weaving stories into your campaign, you can build trust with your donors. Transparency and authenticity are key elements in storytelling. When donors see that your organization is open and honest about its challenges, successes, and goals, they are more likely to trust you with their financial support. Stories will also help show that you are actively doing the work that you say you’re doing. It shows proof of impact.

Motivating Action

Ultimately, the year-end giving campaign’s goal is to inspire action. Whether it’s making a donation, volunteering, or spreading the word, storytelling can be a powerful motivator. When donors are emotionally invested in your cause, they are more likely to take action. Your stories can serve as a call to arms, rallying supporters to help you achieve your mission. Stories are also more sharable. This increases the chance that donors and supporters of your cause are going to promote you campaign on their social media chanels.

Differentiating Your Campaign

Year-end giving campaigns can be competitive, with many nonprofits vying for donors’ attention. A compelling story can set your organization apart from the crowd. It gives you a unique narrative that can capture the imagination of potential donors and leave a lasting impression. Instead of just asking for money, like most organizations do, stories will help you stand out. Messaging that is more than, “it’s the end of the year, last chance to get your gifts in,” goes a long way to people engaging with your organization and giving. 

Long-term Relationships

Effective storytelling is not just a one-time strategy; it can lay the foundation for long-term donor relationships. By consistently sharing stories about your organization’s work and the people it serves, you can keep donors engaged and connected year-round, not just during the year-end campaign. It also isn’t the only thing that is critical to a successful year end campaign. Building trust year round will help make this campaign easier and more successful.


In the world of nonprofit fundraising, storytelling is not just a marketing tactic; it’s a powerful tool for creating lasting change. As you prepare for your year-end giving campaign, remember the importance of storytelling. Craft compelling narratives that engage, inspire, and connect with your audience. In doing so, you can strengthen your organization’s mission, build trust, and secure the support needed to continue making a positive impact in the world. So, go ahead, tell your story and change the world, one donor at a time.

Crafting Your Donor Follow Up Experience

Crafting Your Donor Follow Up Experience

Crafting Your Donor Follow Up Experience

Once a donor gives you their money, how are you following up with them? How are you thanking them and engaging with them to set you up for success with a second gift down the road? 

It is a lot of work getting new donors but the work doesn’t stop there. How you treat your donors once they’ve given makes a big impact on if they give again, regardless of gift size. You probably have a follow up plan for your major donors and corporate sponsors. Remember that you don’t always know the capacity of someone donating on your website – or who else they know. Nurturing donors that give $5 as well as major donors leads to better sustainability and pool of donors to connect with.

Having a combination of offline and online elements will be a great strategy to keep you moving forward. The best part is that some of it can be automated. This blog post will give you some ideas for things to consider with designing your own donor follow up experience.

Create an Experience Map

Determine what you want the donor experience to look like. Be on brand and have fun with it! The goal is to keep them engaged and part of your community. You may have a different experience for different types of donors. For example, monthly donors, foundations/grants, corporate sponsors, event attendees, etc.

Brainstorm ideas and then line them out for each different type. If you’re just getting started, start with one and then go from there.

It’s important to include offline and online elements. You can start with the ideas below! Once you have it all lined out, create a template in your CRM so people know when they need to do a task post donation and nothing falls through the cracks.

Donor Email Welcome Sequence

A donor welcome sequence is a series of emails that a donor gets after they have donated. It’s usually 5-7 emails over a period of a couple of weeks. The goal of this sequence is to share more impact stories, let them get to know your organization better and set expectations for how you’ll be communicating with them.

Welcome sequences can make a huge impact because the open rates on the first email are the highest of any email you’ll send in the future. This is a great way to connect and set the stage for how you treat your donors.

Listen to Episode 122 of the Digital Marketing Therapy Podcast for a deep dive on the welcome sequence.

The best part of these sequences is that they are automated and you don’t have to manage sending them out manually. Just remember to leave space in the timing of the emails for the other elements you include in the experience.

Personal Phone Call

Phone calls go a long way – and not a lot of nonprofits take this step. This call could come from your Executive Director, Development Director, Board Member, etc. Determine the right person based off of the type of gift. 

Even smaller gifts or new monthly donors should be getting 1:1 phone calls. This gives you an opportunity to make a personal connection with donors, ask questions and take notes of how you can better connect in the future.

Ask great questions:

  • why did you choose to give to our organization?
  • what part of our program excites you the most?
  • how do you like to be recognized?

The goal is to make it about them and find out how you can make them feel special in the future.

Thank You Cards

Handwritten cards are a great way to personalize thank yous. Plus people love getting mail that isn’t bills or junk! Again, this is something not a lot of organizations are doing.

You can utilize volunteers and board members for this, or it can also be automated with software like Handwrytten. While this isn’t free, it is a great low cost option to make a great impact.

Send Swag

Swag is a great way surprise and delight your donors and allow them to showcase their support for your organization. It doesn’t have to be expensive! Stickers are great and can be used everywhere. You could also create window clings for their business or car windows. Of course t-shirts are great because people wear them out and about. 

Just like with other elements here, pay attention to your budget and gift size. For example, you might send swag to your monthly donors after six months to acknowledge their dedication and say thank you.

Ongoing Email Newsletters

Once they’ve donated you want to connect with them regularly. That way when the next campaign comes around they have heard from you about impact and you’ve stayed top of mind.

Emails can go out at whatever cadence you can do consistently. We recommend at least twice a month, but weekly is even better. These newsletters can include your blog content, impact stories, industry updates, tips and more. The goal is to position you as the industry expert you are so they know you are the best suited to move the cause forward. 

The more consistently and regularly you send these emails the more often you can make an ask of your subscribers.


Your donors are the reason you are able to create impact. Nurturing them and engagement with them regularly will help you with your retention rates and keep your fundraising running smooth. While you don’t have to do all the things listed here, build in a donor experience you’re excited about and your donors will be excited too. 

Get More Traffic to Your Donation Page

Get More Traffic to Your Donation Page

Get More Traffic to Your Donation Page

Your donation page is a frictionless way for people to give to your organization anywhere at any time. Simply having a giving page on your website isn’t enough to get website visitors to take action. If you want ideas for how to best utilize your donation page, make sure to check out episodes 206 – 209 of the Digital Marketing Therapy podcast.

This blog post will give you ideas for how you can drive more website traffic to your donation page!

Add it to your main menu navigation

Putting it in your main menu navigation makes it easy for people to find it whether it is their first time visiting your website, or they are a repeat visitor. Put it on the far right of your navigation. As a best practice, the outside elements of your menu navigation are where the eye goes first.

Pro tip: put a color behind “donate” in your menu navigation. That will make it pop even more and draw peoples’ eyes there.

Add it to your footer

Your footer isn’t just the place for your contact information. It is also a place for people to go to get all the quick links and acces they need. Make sure you have it clear and obvious for people to click on.

Pro tip: put it next to seals from platforms like GuideStar that give build trust with your fiscal responsibility.

Use it as a Call-To-Action in Your Long Form Content

Hopefully you’re creating content on a regular basis. It could be a blog, YouTube video, podcast, etc. While the content itself isn’t promoting giving it is totally acceptable to have a button, link, or call out your donation page. Try something like, “if you have learned something from this podcast, consider contributing to our organization so we can support more families.”

Pro tip: create a graphic that you can use on your blog posts so you don’t have to recreate the wheel each time. Use it at the bottom of your posts or in the middle if it’s a longer piece of content.

Add it to your events page

Your events are super important for raising funds but also building relationships with your donors. While the priority for the events page on your website is to give people information on the event, get sponsors and sell tickets, not everyone that lands on that is going to be able to attend. Try adding language at the bottom that gives those people an opportunity to still contribute. That could look like inviting them to give, with a link to your donation page. Or you could drive them to your online auction page if you have one.

Share it on you social media profiles

The name of the game is making it easy to find so people can give in the moment they are ready to. Use you donate page link in all your profiles of your social media platforms. That way people can see it easily. You could also create a great pinned post that shares the overall impact of your organization and giving levels.

Include it in the footer of your email newsletters

While we don’t want all our emails to be an ask that doesn’t mean that you can’t have an option for people to still give. Having a button that is in your email footer just makes it easy for people to find it…yet again! If you’re sharing your impact in your emails regularly you never know what stories will encourage your readers to give.

Make sure the URL is easy to say

If you have a really long URL for your donation page than it’s hard to rattle off or for people to remember. If you’re meeting one on one or live on video then having an easy URL helps. There are lots of tools you can use to create a different URL for your donation page. Make it easy like so people can remember it.


The more you talk about your donation page the more traffic you’ll drive to it and the more money you’ll raise. Its all about making a conscious choice to have it in as many places as possible.

Ways Your Board Member Can Support Your Monthly Giving Program

Ways Your Board Member Can Support Your Monthly Giving Program

Ways Your Board Member Can Support Your Monthly Giving Program

Are you struggling with your board when it comes to engaging them and getting things done? Do you feel like you aren’t guiding them in the ways that they can be more supportive? Does it feel like you’re constantly having to ask them to do more and give more time?

Board management is hard. Managing all the personalities is hard. Setting expectations and sticking to them is hard. Understanding what they’re best at and what activities their personality is best suited for is a critical part of the process.

When it comes to a monthly giving program, there are many ways that you can utilize your board to help your fundraising efforts whether they’re comfortable with asking for money or not! Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Have Them Reach Out to Their Friends and Family

The beauty of a monthly giving program is that the ask is much smaller. They don’t have to ask for big gifts or sponsorships. Instead they can share their passion and inspiration for joining your board and ask for $5 or $10 monthly gifts. It’s a great way to enter into asking people for contributions that doesn’t feel so big!

Make it even easier by crafting sample emails, social media posts, graphics, etc that they can share.

Set goals for each board member that equate to either numbers of monthly donors, monthly dollar amounts or both! Come up with a game or a bonus for those that hit certain metrics. Have quarterly awards for a variety of categories to keep people engaged and motivated.

Have Board Members Thank Donors

Hopefully a personal thank you (phone call or handwritten card) is part of your welcome sequence when a new monthly donor signs up. We recommend the initial call be from someone on your developement team or your executive director.

There are lots of other times that you can reach out to monthly donors and say thank you. This is a great opportunity to involve board members:

✅ donor-versary.
✅ their birthday.
✅ milestones that relate to your organization like pet adoption date or graduation.
✅ when they reach a cumulative dollar amount.

Provide them with a script and a list and have them make calls. This not only sets up your board members to be the hero and give great information about donor impact and say thank you, it also allows your board members to hear great stories from donors about why they are involved.

Interview Donors About Features and Benefits

Monthly giving campaigns often include additional value like a special newsletter, virtual meet & greets, etc. When it comes to the options you provide the best place to understand what your donors want is to have conversations with them. This can be tedious.

Give your board members a list of questions and have them reach out and talk with your monthly donors. They can survey them on the benefits they like and how they think your nonprofit is doing for the community.

Help you Identify Donors to Reach Out To

One of the powers of a monthly donor program is that you have a goup of donors for your organization that are your biggest fans. Bring that list to your board meetings and have your board members review it. They can help you identify people that might be great to start chatting with regarding larger gifts.

Ask Them to Become Monthly Donors

It’s easier for your board members to ask others to become monthly donors if they are one themselves. If you have a give or get as a board requirement this is a great place to start. Plus, it’s a great way to jumpstart your monthly giving program and reach your goals.

Because the gift can be smaller it is a great way to encourage all board members to participate at a level that feels comfortable to them.


A monthly giving program is a great way to engage with your board on all levels. You can encourage them to use the skills they’re most comfortable with and make an impact! 

7 Benefits to Include in Your Monthly Giving Program

7 Benefits to Include in Your Monthly Giving Program

7 Benefits to Include in Your Monthly Giving Program

Monthly giving programs are a great way to generate consistent revenue for your nonprofit. Those that join are going to be your biggest fans and often will give additional gifts outside of their monthly donations.

A strong monthly giving program takes time to develop. However, it is easy to track. Plus, for most programs, the amount of work involved doesn’t increase as your number of donors increases. Creating exclusivity inside your program as well as monthly donor only benefits can help you get more people to join your monthly giving program.

So what are some benefits you can include?

Name Your Program

Everyone wants to be a part of a community, especially when it comes to supporting their favorite nonprofit. When you have a name for your monthly giving program they are automatically part of the club and making them feel special. Take it up a notch by giving them an electronic badge they can use in their email signature or on social media!

You can also feature them on your website on your monthly giving page. Highlight them and show them off so others want to be a part of the club.

Make Benefits Exclusive

FoMo is real and people don’t want to miss out on anything – especially with an organization they adore. Building in exclusive access (or early access) can be a great option that costs you nothing. You could offer:

🔹 early access to tickets.
🔹 discounts on VIP tickets.
🔹 early access to registration for your services.
🔹 special seating 

Exclusivity: Offer exclusive access to events, content, or behind-the-scenes updates for monthly donors. This can make donors feel special and appreciated, and encourage them to keep giving.

Impact reports: Provide regular reports to monthly donors to show the impact of their donations. These reports could include stories about how donations have helped specific individuals or communities, or updates on the progress of ongoing projects.


Personalization: Send personalized thank-you messages, holiday cards, or birthday greetings to monthly donors. This can help build a personal connection between the donor and the organization.

Convenience: Make it easy for donors to manage their monthly donations by providing online donation portals, automatic payment options, and flexible payment schedules. This can encourage donors to keep giving over the long term.

Swag: Offer branded merchandise or gifts to monthly donors, such as t-shirts, tote bags, or water bottles. This can help create a sense of community among monthly donors and provide tangible reminders of their support.

Partner discounts: Partner with local businesses to offer discounts or special offers to monthly donors. This can incentivize giving and show that the nonprofit values and rewards its donors.

Ultimately, the benefits that a nonprofit offers in its monthly giving program should align with its mission and the interests of its donors. By providing meaningful and personalized benefits, nonprofits can show their appreciation for monthly donors and build long-lasting relationships with them.

5 Reasons a Monthly Giving Program Might be Right For Your Nonprofit

5 Reasons a Monthly Giving Program Might be Right For Your Nonprofit

5 Reasons a Monthly Giving Program Might be Right For Your Nonprofit

There are so many reasons to consider a monthly giving program, or to put additional effort into growing your program. Monthly giving programs provide a reliable and consistent source of revenue for nonprofits, leading to increased donor retention, cost-effectiveness, and donor engagement.

The best monthly giving programs include a few things:

  • A unique name: treat your donors like the VIPs they are. A fun name makes them feel special and more connected to your organization.
  • Value no one else gets: from a separate newsletter to branded swag to early access to tickets, when you offer your monthly donors something special it encourages them to join the program.
  • Relatable impact at various levels: clearly defining how much impact a $20, $100, $500 etc makes to your organization encourages people to give at bigger levels.

Is a monthly giving program really worth the effort for your organization? Yes, it does take some time to build and grow your program. If you put the right effort into it and stay consistent it can help your nonprofit see financial sustainability!

Here are some statistics that highlight the benefits of monthly giving programs!

Reason #1 – Monthly Donors Give More

According to a study by Nonprofit Source, monthly donors give 42% more annually compared to one-time donors. This is because monthly donors have committed to supporting the organization on an ongoing basis, and they are more likely to increase their giving over time.

It is very common for monthly donors to give an additional gift on top of their monthly gift for things like a year end gift, at an event etc.

Reason #2 – Higher Donor Retention Rates

Monthly giving programs have higher donor retention rates than one-time donors. The average retention rate for monthly donors is 90%, while the retention rate for one-time donors is around 27%. This is because monthly donors have made a longer-term commitment to the organization, and they feel more invested in the nonprofit’s mission.

To keep donor retention rates high, make sure to stay engaged with them. You can do this with a specialized email newsletter, phone calls when they reach milestones, special monthly donor perks, etc.

Reason #3 – Predictable Revenue

Monthly giving programs provide a steady and predictable source of revenue for nonprofits. According to a report by Blackbaud, monthly giving programs account for an average of 16% of nonprofit revenue. Imagine knowing each month that you have 16%+ of your cashflow covered. This can help relieve stress from the reactive fundraising and help you be more strategic.

Also, as time goes on, your monthly giving program can continue to grow adding more and more revenue to your organization. This also doesn’t include the extra gives that monthly donors tend to give on top of their monthly contributions.

Reason #4 – Cost-Effective Fundraising

Monthly giving programs are often more cost-effective than other forms of fundraising. According to a study by Classy, the cost to acquire a monthly donor is around $30 to $40, compared to $100 or more to acquire a one-time donor. 

Remember that your monthly giving program will be more successful when you make them feel like VIPs. With things like specialized newsletters, VIP virtual events, early access to event tickets, you can provide a lot of value that is easy to execute whether it’s one monthly donor or 1,000.

Reason #5 – Growing Trend

Monthly giving programs are becoming more popular among donors. According to a report by M&R Benchmarks, the number of monthly donors increased by 32% in 2020. This indicates that donors are increasingly interested in making a longer-term commitment to the nonprofits they support.

More and more companies are adding a subscription or monthly service to their existing product line, why shouldn’t nonprofits. Start looking at your favorite companies and what their doing and draw inspiration there.


Overall, monthly giving programs offer numerous benefits for nonprofits, including increased revenue, donor retention, cost-effectiveness, and donor engagement. By offering a monthly giving program, nonprofits can build stronger relationships with their donors, ensure a more predictable source of funding, and focus on achieving their mission.

Want more resources for monthly giving? Check out Episodes 198 – 201 of Digital Marketing Therapy for a deep dive into all things monthly giving. 

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