You can try and prepare for it, but the year-end rush always seems to thwart plans and make it difficult to accomplish your goals before Dec. 31. This checklist can help you stay on track to close out the year successfully.
The end of the year is a busy time for everyone, and nonprofit organizations are no exception. In fact, a nonprofit’s year-end calendar may be one of the busiest.
The end of the year means nonprofits are organizing their big holiday appeal to donors, preparing for the influx of last-minute donations, and tidying up financials and files. It’s hard to keep track of everything needed to tie the year up in a neat bow, but a checklist of to-dos can help organize nonprofit year-end tasks.
□ Send an end-of-year appeal.
Nonprofits raise roughly one-fifth of their annual revenue in December. You can take advantage of that December giving trend and the holidays in general. Start your end-of-year appeal by sending a warm greeting, and include high-quality, personalized content that inspires the recipient.
Don’t know where to start? This checklist for stress-free, nonprofit year-end fundraising can help you take full advantage of the spirit of generosity that comes with the end of the year.
Be prepared for the last-minute gifts that may come from your donors who got caught up in holiday preparations. Other donations may come from individuals who want to maximize their benefits and minimize their taxable income before the end of the year.
□ Thank donors.
Send a heartfelt thank you to donors who respond to your end-of-year appeal, but don’t forget about those who gave throughout the year. It’s easy to overlook supporters during the year-end rush. A simple message that expresses thanks for their help will encourage them to continue supporting your cause.
When you share your thanks with donors, show the impact of their donations. Use multiple platforms to express your gratitude, from email and direct mail to social media. Try sharing a video of your organization celebrating the holidays, and include a statement about the difference your supporters have made.
Need help composing the perfect thank-you message? This free template is a great place to start your draft!
□ Balance your books.
Even if you have automated bookkeeping and accounting, you need to make sure that all your data has been submitted, all transactions are accurately recorded, and your accounts are reconciled and balanced before pulling your nonprofit year-end financial reports. Review and confirm all your revenue is recorded correctly to help you compose documents like financial statements or the annual report.
Here are some tips to make a financial statement that you can use as a powerful tool to show impact and increase your donors’ confidence.
□ Organize your files and folders.
The end of the year is the perfect time to organize your data, both physical and digital. Wrap up your data entry, merge duplicates, and update your list of mailing addresses. File away the year and clear space for the new one. You can use this opportunity to improve your folders and how you organize their information.
□ Reflect on the year.
After reviewing your files, the information will be top of mind, making a nonprofit year-end review easier. Evaluate how your organization performed this past year. Reflect on your successes and areas for improvement. How did your donor base change? What impact did your fundraising campaigns have?
This year-end performance evaluation can inform next year’s planning. What new goals can you set? How can you improve your strategic plans based on this year’s performance?
Most importantly, the end of the year means you have an opportunity for a new beginning! Make your own to-do list to keep your team focused on your goals and free of year-end distractions. Share the joy of the holidays with your donors and co-workers while ensuring your organization is prepared for a successful new year!