We’ve been closely following non-profit fundraising campaigns run throughDonorZen to see how we can improve outcomes. We dived into our data and identified some common practices that separate successful campaigns from the ones that fail.

The great news is that it doesn’t cost much to run a fantastic end-of-year fundraiser or mid-year match-a-thon campaign. Much of it boils down to drive and commitment — something that you already have!

Here are the common elements we saw in successful campaigns:

The call-to-action was clear and directed

Successful campaigns have explicit and well-defined descriptions and calls-to-actions.

These campaigns describe not only the details of the fundraising effort (the goal amount, when it started, etc.) but also the question: why are we raising money?

The best campaigns have very specific uses for the funds — whether it be repairing a leaky roof or helping homeless veterans find housing – a clear reason enables donors to connect with the campaign and envision the impact of their contribution.

There’s a sense of urgency

The best campaigns don’t just let people know that time is running out — they state that time had run out, and that this is a last-ditch effort.

They prominently feature a timer that counts down to zero and a progress meter that shows donors the exact amount of funds raised. Penalties for not giving during the period of the campaign are severe — and worse, any matchers outside the time of the campaign are lost.

It’s tempting to let a campaign go on forever for fear you’ll miss a donation but this can backfire. When this happens, potential donors may think: “I’ll donate later.”  In reality, later never comes and the donation is missed.

It’s hard to say “no” to a possible donation, but sometimes it just makes sense. Having constraints like time limits guides donors into the right frame of mind to give.

There is a video or image that shows the organization actively engaged in its work.

Donors respond to visuals much more than text. Seeing the organization actively engaged in its project gives donors confidence that their funds will be used for a good cause. Smiling faces at a community picnic or a team building a house for the homeless adds weight to the success your donors experience by giving to your campaign.

In this case, a picture is worth a thousand words and a video is worth ten thousand words!

The campaign is shared repeatedly on social media and other channels

Successful campaigns have a strong and frequent presence on social media. Posting pictures, timers and progress meters on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram involve potential donors on a regular basis. Be sure to thank individual donors publicly on social media. These efforts turn the campaign from “asking for money” into a bona-fide community event!

It all comes down to the views

In the end — it all comes down to how many people viewed the campaign. On DonorZen, we consistently see between 15 to 25% of views convert into an actual donation. This means that for every 5 people that view the campaign page, 1 donated!

It is clear how important it is to get the word out in every way possible. People want to give to good causes, but they don’t have the opportunity if they don’t hear about your cause.

“get the word out by whatever means necessary”


Organizations of all sizes have used DonorZen to run their 24–48 hour fundraising campaigns, collectively raising over 28 million dollars through our platforms. Create clear calls-to-action and collect credit card donations directly through DonorZen! Run your campaign today!

 Running a Successful End of Year Campaign
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