Your Checklist for End-of-Year Fundraising

In some ways, 2020 has gone by so slowly. This year won’t go down in the books for many people as their favorite – to say the least.

At the same time, it’s hard to believe that we’re already in the last half of 2020. End-of-year fundraising is coming up quickly, and now is the time to gear up to make the most of it.

Here is a checklist to help get you going:

  • Start early. Prep for end-of-year fundraising now, with your communications starting as early as October. For example:
    1. Create an engagement campaign in October that make constituents feel connected with your organization but doesn’t ask them for money.
    2. In November, let constituents know that you’re thankful for them because of all they’ve helped your nonprofit to accomplish throughout the year (this is a great time to provide a summary of the year’s accomplishments).
    3. This tees you up well for Giving Tuesday on December 1 (more on that below), and the remainder of your end-of-year giving campaign.
  • Take a look back. Review what worked and what didn’t for last year’s end-of-year campaign to help inform your plan. Run reports to analyze actions taken, donations made, and unsubscribes to help identify strengths and weaknesses from last year’s campaign.

  • Map out a plan. Think through each aspect of your end-of-year fundraising ― from communications channels and messages to the overall donor experience. Here are some key steps:
    1. Create an outline of a communications plan and calendar for the last quarter of the year. This should include all of your emails and direct mail to your various audiences as well as all social media posts ― even those that aren’t part of your end-of-year fundraising campaign ― so you know who will be receiving what communication and when.
    2. List your end-of-year fundraising emails and make note of the purpose of each: Is it an engagement email? Informational? An ask? As you brainstorm, you might get some ideas of what to include in each email. Make note of these things as they come to you.
    3. Begin to record what other components you’ll need to create, such as new email headers, surveys, graphics, and landing pages.
    4. Share your plan with stakeholders in your organization, get feedback, and start building your campaign. Be sure to include anyone in your organization who you will need to support the campaign, such as a copywriter, graphic designer, or someone to test and send your emails and post your social media messages.
  • Incorporate GivingTuesday. GivingTuesday has become a powerful movement to support the work of nonprofits. This year, GivingTuesday is on December 1, 2020. Be sure to incorporate it into your end-of-year fundraising to get the most out of this special day. Some key steps:
    1. Read the GivingTuesday FAQ. If you haven’t already read it, take a look at this helpful resource.
    2. Give a heads up. Remind your constituents that Giving Tuesday is coming up. Put this on their radar at least the week before the big day, but also consider mentioning it on social media and other communications several weeks before.
    3. Build a unique GivingTuesday donation form. To place more focus on your GivingTuesday campaign, build a GivingTuesday-specific donation form and open it up the Monday prior to GivingTuesday. Leave it open on Wednesday, too. Link to the form in your email promotions, and update the “donate” link on your website to point to the GivingTuesday donation form while the campaign is open.
    4. Mobilize your peer-to-peer fundraising supporters. With a little effort, you can turn GivingTuesday into your first or next successful peer-to-peer fundraising campaign by asking your top peer-to-peer supporters to start their own GivingTuesday fundraisers for your organization.
  • Acknowledge our world situation. This year has been challenging for everyone. In your messaging, be sure to acknowledge that times are tough. Thank past donors for their support. Let potential donors know why your mission is still important despite (and maybe especially because of) all that’s going on. Make it clear why now is the time to support your mission.
  • Keep it going. Once the ball drops at midnight on New Year’s Day, your end-of-year fundraising isn’t over. Follow up with supporters to thank them and let them know how they are helping to shape the next year for your organization and your mission.

  • Don’t panic. If you get a late start on end-of-year fundraising, read 7 Tips for Last-Minute End-of-Year Fundraising for some quick and easy ways to end your year on a fundraising high note.

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