Often the most simple tasks can feel the most challenging, and I’d bet my last dollar if you asked most nonprofit staff which end-of-year task they dread the most, the appeal would be in everyone’s top three. The simplicity is what makes these annual appeals particularly daunting because there’s little room for error.

But what’s an end-of-year appeal?

And what’s its purpose?

Let’s talk about it.

An appeal is a request for donations from individuals or organizations in support of a specific cause. They’re different from general donation requests because appeals should only be used a few times a year, and they ask for support for a specific campaign hence the term “end-of-year” appeal.

Because the purpose of an appeal is to funnel support into a campaign, they’re usually sweet, short, simple and to the point. In this digital world, many appeals are sent electronically but some nonprofits will set aside physical letters (with the executive director’s handwritten signature) to send out to donors who have given above a particular threshold. If you ask me, between the physical and the digital, I personally think it comes down to your donor base.

If your donor base is primarily composed of millennials and gen Z, solely relying on physical letters isn’t the best option for you. These are the folks who spend the most time online and always have their phones handy. However, if your audience is older, they’ll appreciate, or might even prefer, a physical letter.

Now that we know what an appeal is and its purpose, how do you write a good end-of-year appeal? Here’s some advice:

If you’re interested in learning more about fundraising, schedule a free 30-minute consultation with me to see what we can get done. You’re not in this alone!

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