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A man plays the accordion
Las posadas musician at Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail
NPS Photo
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Turning Up Year End Giving

By Jamie Kelley

As a musician, I understand the power of music to inspire connection.

As the Chief Philanthropy Officer at the National Park Foundation, I am reminded that there is also music in what we do. The instruments we use, the timing and arrangement of fundraising initiatives, and the voices we elevate all serve to inspire connection with donors whose support is helping to make America’s national parks a philanthropic priority.

Jamie Kelley
Jamie Kelley, Chief Philanthropy Officer at the National Park Foundation

Historically, end of year giving has represented a fundraising finale, the chorus and crescendo of a philanthropic symphony a year in the making. End of year giving plays an outsized role in achieving NPF’s annual revenue goals, and we are not alone. The burst of giving last December accounted for roughly one fourth of annual revenue across the nonprofit sector, and that number has been declining in recent years. Factors influencing the shift range from the impacts of global events, the state of the U.S. economy, and changes in tax law, to the adoption of new technology and changing demographics across the donor community. Emerging trends demand our willingness to innovate and experiment, to improvise and adapt the ways we engage with people to care about America’s national parks, and to contribute to the success of these places we all share.

The landscape of philanthropy is dynamic, and at the National Park Foundation we are finding new ways to keep pace with the changing tempo.

A Bigger Stage

The Foundation is launching end of year fundraising earlier, beginning in mid-November. Extending the giving season provides the opportunity to integrate and harmonize direct mail, email, and digital advertising appeals over a longer period to drive increased revenue.

Better Instruments

Trombone player
Trombone player at New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park (NPS Photo / Hunter Miles Davis)

Digital strategies, including Giving Tuesday, have taken hold, capturing the interest of donors and partners alike. The Foundation is fine-tuning Giving Tuesday to increase overall revenue through an expanded series of match challenges. This year, NPF’s Giving Tuesday match challenge will be featured in our GoParks newsletter distributed to well over one million park lovers. Giving Tuesday digital ads provided a significant boost to end of year revenue in 2022, and this year NPF will increase its investment to engage a wider audience of potential donors over a longer period. Thanks to the generous support of NPF’s Board of Directors, donations made before the end of the year will be matched by the Board up to $750,000 – a tremendous incentive to give! The Foundation’s Philanthropy team is continuing to refine and improve donor engagement through direct mail and email, reaching donors with new, inspiring messages about the urgency to fund national park priorities and the impact people make possible through their personal gifts.

Surround Sound

2022 Fort Dupont Summer Event Series
A concert at Fort Dupont Park (NPS Photo / Lucas Cruz)

End of year fundraising is inseparable from the celebration of America’s national parks and NPF’s deep commitment to do more to protect these unique and diverse landscapes and wildlife for future generations. We are stronger together and that value is driving closer collaboration with colleagues across the organization to help promote NPF’s year-end fundraising as an essential part of the Foundation’s extended celebration of Giving and Gratitude from November 15 to December 31. By rallying the talents of a larger ensemble across the organization to share their stories of gratitude and the impact of park philanthropy, we will bring people closer to our more than 400 national parks, inspiring greater connections, and financial support. NPF’s season of Giving and Gratitude is truly an ode to parks!

Remember, there is music in what we do! Philanthropy is after all both art and science. Turn it up and be inspired by stories of Giving and Gratitude on the National Park Foundation’s Facebook page, X (Twitter), and LinkedIn, and don’t forget to donate here.