Ann C. Fitzgerald, President
Once Starbucks starts selling pumpkin spice lattes, you know Christmas and Hannukah are right around the corner, and that means fundraisers everywhere are ramping up for their most important time of year. Most nonprofits raise about 60% of their revenue during this time!
Though this season comes around, entirely predictably, once a year, it often sneaks up on us. This can make it chaotic, stressful, and even less successful. But right now, we’ve got plenty of time. So here is a checklist to help make this your best, calmest year-end ever.
- Clean up your database so you are ready to pull lists and segments, as needed.
- Update your communications calendar and select mail dates and messages for appeals, emails, and other outreach.
- Contact your vendors to schedule your projects. Keep in mind that USPS mail is slower this year, so you may need additional lead time.
- Segment your donor files to determine which donors need high-touch attention and which can receive general appeals.
- Line up volunteers for thank you or reminder calls to donors (this might include staff outside of development, board members, volunteers, and/or others).
- Prepare a holiday recognition for major donors such as a Thanksgiving or holiday card or simple gift.
- Check your inventory. Do you have enough paper, envelopes, ink cartridges, note cards, stamps, and other materials to thank donors?
- Review and update your website. Confirm that it’s easy to give online via the website and the mobile version.
- Send a multi-channel year-end appeal using print and digital vehicles. (Draft the thank you letter in advance so it’s ready when donations arrive).
- Prepare emails and social media for Giving Tuesday. Last year, 34.8 million people donated $2.47 billion to nonprofits on Giving Tuesday. Don’t miss out!
- Develop phone scripts for volunteers who are making calls.
- Share giving information with all staff. Make sure everyone knows how to process credit cards or accept gifts of stock.
- Make your holiday plan. Decide who will monitor fundraising activity between Christmas and New Year’s when many giving decisions are made. 12% of all giving happens in the last three days of the year!
- Make your last appeals. Follow up with letters, emails, or calls to donors who have not yet given.
- Experience the joy of giving by making your own charitable gifts.
- Celebrate success knowing you’ve put forth your best effort to advance your nonprofit’s mission!
Ann C. Fitzgerald is Founder and President of AC Fitzgerald, using her decades of experience in fundraising, management, leadership, and sales to help nonprofits build their capacity and achieve success. She is a sought-after speaker, writer, and advisor.