From September To January, Here’s What You Should Do For Year-End Fundraising Success

Keeping track of to-dos can be tricky in the busy final quarter of the year—but this period is crucial for fundraisers. In fact, Dec. 29-31 are the biggest fundraising days of the year in the United States! Follow our month-by-month communications calendar to crush your year-end fundraising goals.



Set SMART goals. How much money do you want to raise? SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. Get started in just 14 minutes with this webinar.

Build your team. Who is going to help you meet your goals? Staff, volunteers, friends, and family can harness their networks to advocate for your cause. Learn how to inspire fearless fundraising advocates with this guide.

Get inspired. Countless nonprofits have organized successful year-end fundraising campaigns on GlobalGiving. See how this Tanzanian nonprofit raised more than $44,000 from 500 donors in 2016.


Identify your donor segments. It seems simple, but this step is often overlooked. Spend the time figuring out which donors you want to ask for a repeat gift, first-time gift, or even monthly gift. For example, you may want to ask a one-time donor to become a monthly donor, and ask high net worth donors for a single large donation.

Define your messaging. Year-end fundraising can be chaotic, so keep your messaging simple and consistent. Edit your ask for brevity and clarity: Can you explain your message and ask in two minutes? One minutes? In a single tweet or Facebook post? Consistency ensures no donor is surprised when you ask for a year-end donation. Watch these webinars with Facebook and Twitter tips for nonprofits for more inspiration.

Create your communications calendar. Week by week, determine which communications need to go out. Whether they are emails, phone calls, or direct mail, work backwards from #GivingTuesday and Dec. 31 to make sure you don’t forget anything. Prepare your email plans with these best practices and find some helpful tools to get you started.


Get ready for #GivingTuesday. If you haven’t already, get your #GivingTuesday plan in place. Connect with your country’s philanthropic network, create an engaging social media and email plan, and check-in with your fundraising team. Don’t forget to create a plan to thank your donors.

Share success stories. You’ve already spent the year creating a positive impact in your community. Before you ask donors to give on #GivingTuesday and throughout December, make sure they are familiar with the great things you’ve achieved.

Schedule and prepare communications. Start drafting emails and scheduling social media posts ahead of time. These free tools make scheduling easy.


Recover from #GivingTuesday. Year-end fundraising is no walk in the park! Take some time between #GivingTuesday and the last two weeks of December to rest, celebrate your success, check in with your team, and reflect. Did you learn anything from #GivingTuesday that could make your final year-end ask even more effective? Don’t forget: even people who help other people need a break sometimes.

Finalize all communications. Thank donors who have already given, put the finishing touches on emails and social media posts, and rally your fundraising advocates for a final push. Be sure to communicate your goals and deadlines to your donors.

Go, go, go! Dec. 29-31 are the biggest fundraising days of the year in the United States. These final few days could raise thousands for your nonprofit, so don’t leave anything on the table. Support your fundraising advocates, make final calls to donors, and share your progress on social media.


Thank donors. Thank your year-end donors as soon as you can. Here are our top tips for writing stellar thank you notes.

Reflect. What went well during your year-end fundraising campaign? What can go better next year? While it’s fresh in your brain, write down your reflections and notes for how you can do even better in 2019.

Thank your team. No successful year-end fundraising campaign is run by one person—express your appreciation for your nonprofit’s team, volunteers, and fundraising advocates. A phone call, personalized thank you note, or even a small gift can go a long way to make sure those dedicated people stick by you for years to come.

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Featured Photo: Saving Children's Lives in Sierra Leone
by The Welbodi Partnership
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