End-of-Year Fundraising? Start Now to Get Ahead of the Curve

Planning Your End of Year Fundraising Campaign 

The fundraising scene is a tough one right now. Budgets are tight and getting tighter, dollars are losing their elasticity and funders are seeing record numbers of grant requests with limited budgets. In fact, in 2022 charitable giving fell 3.4% – only the fourth time in four decades this type of dip occurred. 

While this may seem discouraging, the truth is – this is no reason to give up! After all, dropping your fundraising efforts all together will not have a satisfying result. Plus, it’s more than worth noting that even though donations are down – the total amount of charitable giving in 2022 was still $499.3 billion.

Read on for more inspiration and information to help catch some waves on your path for high tide fundraising success

Why is EOY important for fundraising?

Regardless of how you slice it, the end of year is HUGE for fundraising. In fact, over 30% of annual giving occurs in the month of December alone – donors are primed to make donations around the holidays, especially Christmas and New Year. No matter the size of your nonprofit, there are fun, creative and meaningful ways to increase your revenue and harness the power of end-of-year philanthropy.

An EOY campaign has the potential to be the biggest fundraising event of the year, making it an important revenue opportunity for your nonprofit. That’s why it’s important to plan, create, and execute the appropriate steps for a successful campaign. 

Steps to EOY Plannings 

  1. Brainstorm & Preparation (August/September)

The first phase of end-of-year planning is sitting down to brainstorm the foundation of your campaign including: goals, theme, and donor segments. In this phase, creating a campaign spreadsheet that includes a timeline, budget, to-do list and calendar is integral to ensuring that everyone on your team is on the same page. 

Also think about how you can get more people involved in your fundraiser to increase its success:

  • What role will board members play? How will you activate them to success?
  • Are there any opportunities to reach out for matching sponsorships to boost your campaign?
  • Did any donors stand out this year so far with major gifts that would be good to call on now?
  1. Content Creation (September/October)

After the EOY campaign outline is in place, it is time to create the content. This can include the social media content, writing the EOY appeal, email campaigns, thank you  letters, and more.  

During this phase, think about how you are going to amplify your story to really clarify your impact: 

  • Do you have year-to-date data in place? If not, work on collecting it now!
  • What are the mission moments from this year that stand out in your mind? Which stories do you need to share? Be sure to ask this of your team, and capture as much as possible.
  • Are any of the individuals you think about from the last question willing to go on camera and speak about their transformation from your program? If so, this is an amazing testimonial to your work!
  • Reflect on goals from the beginning of the year. What progress have you made? Make sure that is shared!
  • Is there an underlying theme that would be relevant to your campaign? Maybe it’s a new project, or a specific need that erupted throughout the year.
  1. Execution (November/December)

This is when you launch your content and campaign to your donors and community! The most important component to this stage is ensuring that as donors give, they are removed from future solicitation in the campaign AND are promptly stewarded. 

During this phase, make sure you have:

  • Thank you cards, so you can easily and promptly reach out to those who give. These can be both digital and print. (We have templates here.)
  • A plan for activating all those people that were involved in the brainstorming and preparation of the campaign. Make sure board members are active, and as many people as possible are sharing your campaign.
  1. Stewardship (November/December/January)

Once a donor makes a gift to your campaign, ensure that they are immediately added to your stewardship plan. This includes thank you calls, letters, emails, and/or other means to communicate with your donors what their gift means to your organization, thank them, and to continue building relationships. 

Also, make sure to update your audience about the progress of your campaign. How much has been raised, what other impacts are occurring during the giving season, and what other in-the-moment updates can you share that will resonate with your donors? Share away!!

  1. Evaluation (January)

After the start of the year, take the time to identify and record lessons learned, successes, flops, and the strategies worth repeating in future years. Then, get started on your annual report – and be sure your donors are thanked in there! 

How should you get started?

Let’s summarize how to start, create, and execute a successful EOY Fundraising campaign:

  • Brainstorm your campaign fundamentals (theme, fundraising goals, donor segments).
  • Establish your EOY Campaign Plan (calendar, to-do, budget).
  • Create a solid campaign brand and narrative.
  • Create content needed for your campaign. 
  • Launch your campaign! Send the appeal, post to social media, make the ask!
  • Steward your donors! Check out our thank you templates. 
  • Don’t forget to evaluate your campaign after the New Year!

To get started, call a meeting with those on your staff who are involved in development and fundraising to begin the brainstorming process around your EOY fundraising campaign. 

Jumpstart your EOY fundraising success!

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