815-801-3035 info@fornwil.org

Year-End Fundraising Toolkit

Freeport Community Foundation

Fundraising Basics for Year-End Campaigns

Nonprofit leaders know that as the year winds down, donations have the potential to go way up. More than a quarter of nonprofits raise close to half their annual funds in year-end campaigns, even up to 10 percent of that occurring in just the last three days of the year. We hope this year-end toolkit helps you to meet your goals, reflect on the last several months and celebrate your successes as you launch into the new year!

Set Your Goals: Your year-end strategy should include clear and measurable goals. Having these allows you to track your progress and make adjustments to your strategy as necessary. Having established your goals will help you to establish which donors to target according to giving history.

Equip Your Staff: Communicating your fundraising goals to your staff is invaluable toward achieving your goals. They will need to assist in mailings, emails, social media posts and website content.

Involve Your Volunteers: The end-of-year holiday season provides an opportunity to excite your volunteers and reconnect with those in your volunteer family that may not have been as involved in previous months. Not only can they assist with general office duties, but they can be utilized to make phone calls, share Facebook content, and write thank you notes. Volunteers are also donors, not only of time and talent, but also of treasure. All that your volunteers do is important, but don’t underestimate their ability to be generous in all areas.

Engage Your Board Members: Your board members should be your most prominent advocates and apart from their own voices in the community and their personal circles, they are able to help with year-end checklist:

  • Assist with appeal letters
  • Send thank-you notes
  • Recruit prospective donors
  • Volunteer for phone campaigns
  • Host fundraising parties in their homes

Understand Your Database: Proper data management will help you to track donor activity. To keep your database clean and uncluttered, organizations need to understand the importance of data entry habits. What comes out of a database is only good as what goes in. Good database practices include:

  • Know what information you want to track
  • Limit administrative database access
  • Standardize data entry
  • Check for duplicate entries when adding to the database
  • Utilize address standardization
  • Marked database members as “deceased” and filter them in your database queries

Start Your Communications with Thank You: Consider communications with donors that offer a “year in review” that shows them the benefits of their support throughout the past year. Thanking them for their support in previous months can inspire them to additional support and not feel taken for granted. Start with “Thank You”…but end with Thank  You.

The ‘Ask’ and Your Audiences: Your appeals are targeting current donors and prospective donors, but lapsed donors are also a great opportunity toward meeting the goals of your organization as well. You may want to consider a different type of donor appeal for lapsed donors or even have them contacted directly by your CEO or board members. Donor appeals are not always one-size-fits-all, so consider your different audiences and what they need to hear from your organization.

Focus on Your Social Media & Website: Since so much time is spent on hand-held devices, it is critical not to miss an opportunity to make connections with your donors online possible. Make sure to:

  • Scheduling daily social posts
  • Make your messaging as personal as possible
  • Include pictures and/or infographics
  • Remember the “Ask”
  • Consider using advertising
  • Don’t forget the donate button or link
  • Double check that all of your buttons and links work properly!

Make your “Thank You” Memorable: In addition to saying “Thank You” to your donors, this is an opportunity to nurture the relationship and share about other ways they can be involved in your organization. You may also want to invite some of your larger donors for coffee or invite them to a meet and greet after the holidays. Whatever you decide, this is a chance to build on relationships, helping them to become deeper and stronger. Anyone can say “thank you” and your donors will receive an abundance of those types of letters. Find your way to continue to stand out and encourage your donors to be more interested and, ultimately, more involved.

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The Foundation for Northwest Illinois
1525 S Forest Rd Suite 200
Freeport, IL 61032

(815) 801-3035


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