Finish strong! Six tips for successful year-end fundraising

by Sara Lundenberger, director of nonprofit consulting | Dec 20, 2017 |

Consulting, Fundraising |


The end of the year is approaching and we all know what that means! Nervous fundraisers are doing everything they can to hit their yearly fundraising goals; running their donor lists and checking them twice to make sure they don’t miss any possible dollars. Although there are only a few weeks left in the year, here are a few things you can do for a final push to hit your goals.  Remember: 12 percent of giving happens in the last three days of the year!

1. Make sure 100 percent of your board has given
Having the financial support of your board sends a message that those closest to your organization believe in the mission. There are also many grantors that require 100 percent participation for funding. If you need to, enlist your board chair for help to solicit those last-minute shoppers. Remind your board that even making a pledge and paying it in the new year can still count as a participation in 2017.

2. Post on your social media
No, social media is not going to bring in significant dollars. (I can repeat that if you need proof for your executive director.)  In 2016, social media brought in about 7 percent of all donations. But, post a compelling story about someone or something your organization did in 2017 and you might gain a few new donors and/or followers.

3. Send out an e-blast/e-newsletter
For every 1,000 newsletters you send, you can expect a $44 return. That doesn’t sound like much, but if a donor’s first gift is $44 from an e-newsletter, imagine their potential once they’ve been stewarded and thanked all year long. Keep it simple and to the point. Nobody has time to read a three-page story, especially at the holidays; however, a reminder about your organization, why you are important and what you did in the past year might be enough to persuade someone to give you their year-end gift.

4. Remind donors about stock gifts
The stock market is up, so if you can accept stock gifts – DO! Stock is a great way for donors to give to your organization, sometimes at a higher amount than they could in cash. If you can’t accept stock this year, add it to your to-do list in January.

5. Pick up the phone
Visit the ghost of Christmas past and remember the days of actual phone conversations. Call your largest donors who haven’t given yet and gently remind them about the importance of their donation. Even better, enlist your board members (who are always asking how they can help) to call a few donors and thank them for their support.

6. Make a plan for next year
You know all of those awesome ideas you have right now that you don’t have the time, money or the resources to implement? Write them down for next year!

You still have plenty of time to engage your donors and hit your fundraising goals. Good luck!


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