Year-End Fundraising – A Month-by-Month Breakdown

Year-End Fundraising – A Month-by-Month Breakdown

Posted by The Badger Group

It’s October. If you haven’t already started, it’s time to plan your year-end fundraising campaign. 

Here’s a month-by-month breakdown to help make your year-end fundraising plan easier.

October: Goals, Plans, Data, and Design

Set your goals.

Do you have fundraising (revenue) targets? Do you want to engage certain groups of donors more than others? Are you trying to increase your average gift size or number of first-time donors? Decide what your goals are for this campaign and use those goals to plan your strategy.

Every successful fundraising campaign starts with a plan.

Once you set goals, you will need to create a strategy and plan. Here are a few things to include:

  • Identify the audiences you are trying to reach
  • Develop a clear call to action
  • Decide on the channels you’ll use to get that message to those audiences.
  • Set a timeframe for when each communication will go out. Include direct mail, emails, social media posts, phone calls, etc.

Get Your Data in Order. 

Segment your audience so you can develop more effective, targeted messages. All of your donors are valuable, but some segments of your donor base are more important for year-end success. Do you know who they are? The answers lie in your data.

Design a Compelling Appeal. 

A strong year-end campaign builds on your fundraising messages throughout the year. What was your focus this year? What was your organization able to achieve with the help of your donors? Remind donors of the great work you do that’s only possible with their help. 

November: Kick Off Your Year-End Campaign

November is when the rubber hits the road. Make your last minute preparations and then launch the campaign!

Last Minute Prep

Is your online donation page ready?

Donate money (or ask a friend to) to make sure the online donation experience flows smoothly for the donor. See what thank you emails are sent and make sure everything is aligned with your current campaign.

Is your database ready to input new donations and update donor information?

Be sure that your database administrator knows when the campaign is starting so that she/he is prepared to enter the information when donations begin.

Is your donor thank you written?

Don’t wait until donations start arriving to write your thank you. Have it ready to go before your campaign begins. That way, your donor thank you’s can go out as soon as donations are received.

Launch your campaign

The week of Thanksgiving is when most year-end fundraising campaigns kick off, although it’s a good idea to be warming up donors with targeted messages in your fall newsletter and email newsletters leading into the season.

Make your effort multi-channel.

Send your first direct mail appeal the week of Thanksgiving. Send out an email and publish your social media posts to launch your campaign digitally. Are you including online ads? Be sure they are designed and ready to post before your direct mail is delivered to the post office.

Are you incorporating #GivingTuesday into your campaign?

How are you planning to time your direct mail piece, social media posts, and email campaigns with #GivingTuesday? Will #GivingTuesday be part of your year-end campaign or completely separate?

If you plan to include #GivingTuesday as one piece of your year-end campaign, you have some options. Some people start their year-end appeal campaign before Thanksgiving and use #GivingTuesday to give their year-end appeal a boost. Others wait and use #GivingTuesday as the day they launch their year-end campaign.

December: Keep Going!

The last few weeks and especially days of December are critical to the success of your year-end campaign.

Will you send a 2nd Direct Mail piece? 

You may opt to send a second direct mail touch to specific segments of your donors. Some nonprofits do this as a holiday card.

Use Digital Channels to reinforce your need.

Plan to send a few final emails, including one on December 31. As the end draws near, make your appeal messages more concise and urgent.

Don’t forget to thank donors.

Thank them as soon as possible after they make a gift. Continue to thank them throughout the holiday season and beyond.

January: Analyze and Celebrate!

You think you’re all done when you flip the calendar to a new year, but you’re not.

Analyze your results. 

To make next year’s year-end fundraising campaign even easier than this year’s, take time to analyze what worked, what didn’t – and incorporate what you learn into your strategy for the coming year.

Thank your donors. 

Take time to celebrate your hard work and the generosity of your donors. Donors like to know that your campaign was successful. Consider sending a thank you in January to let them know how much was raised and how it will be used. Or, send a thank you that lets donors know all that they helped accomplish in the previous year.

Contact one of our Badger Group experts 

…to learn how we can help with your year-end appeal. Need a quote? Fill out the request below or call 920-563-5144.