Instead of going into a year-end fundraising panic, why not set your nonprofit up for some easy fundraising wins?


The end of the calendar year still reigns supreme as the time when Americans make most of their charitable gifts, and a substantial number of nonprofits raise most of their money. Some nonprofits spend a good chunk of the year planning for this important, year-end fundraising time. Other nonprofits open their calendars on December 1 and think “Oh, shoot. Fundraising. We should probably get on that.”

If your nonprofit hasn’t done much to plan for year-end fundraising, don’t worry. There are some simple things you can do to set yourself up for a few “easy wins.”

Not all goals have to be about dollars raised


If you haven’t really been planning for year-end giving – specifically, the time between Giving Tuesday (the Tuesday after Thanksgiving) and December 31, there still are some things you can do to thank your donors, engage your board members and staff, reach out to new potential donors, raise your profile, and set your organization up for success in the year to come. You can set goals related to:

Number of thank you calls to donors

Number of new potential donors with whom you have conversations

Number of new gifts that your organization secures

Number of repeat gifts (gifts from previous donors) that your organization secures

Number of board members who add your organization to their email signature, post something on social media about your organization, or send handwritten letters to previous or potential donors

A Gift per Day, or Five Gifts per Day… set a goal for the number of gifts your organization secures every day between now and the end of the year.

Success Stories/Testimonials: Use this time to focus on testimonial quotes from people whom your organization has helped. Create a Story Bank.

Have you been wanting to create a “stock proposal” for your organization – a standard, 5-page proposal that you can have on hand when you need it, and that you can modify based on the interests of a specific donor/foundation? This is one of those tasks that tends to get pushed to the back burner. Make this the month that you finally get it done!

The week between Christmas and New Year’s is notoriously quiet. Many of your board members, staff, and donors will be traveling. But others are in town, which makes it a great time to host a super-simple gathering like a holiday cookie party. No fundraising asks – just thank you’s and good cheer. You can even host this in your office. You’ll be surprised by how many people will appreciate a laid-back event, especially when things are quieter with work, school, and other typical obligations.


Little Pain, Lots of Gain


Some of these “easy wins” will lead to more dollars raised in the short term. Others will build your pipeline of potential donors or build organizational affinity and good will among your existing donors. If you are engaging your board in these efforts, some of these “easy wins” will help board members feel that they have accomplished something positive for the organization, so they enter the new calendar year with confidence and enthusiasm. These are low-risk strategies, so just try one or two of them out and see what works!

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