This post was originally published on the AmFund blog.
It’s never too early to start planning for the end of the year. The summer months tend to fly by quicker than most of us would prefer. For that reason, it’s important to plan ahead as much as possible. This article will help your nonprofit prepare for the final few months of the year with strategies that will help your organization hit its financial goals for the year. We all know how busy it gets at the end of the year. Don’t let that stop your organization from finding the kind of financial success it needs to continue doing great work in the community!
Why is the end of the year so important?
Before we get into some of our strategies, let’s quickly talk about the end of the year and why it’s such an important time for nonprofit organizations. Not only do we have #GivingTuesday in November, but the holidays are a popular time of year for large fundraising events. In fact, 30 percent of donations occur during December. This again is why it’s so important to implement strategies that will help your organization capitalize on this particular time of the year.
10 strategies to help you prepare for the end of the year
There’s one general idea to keep in mind when you read through these strategies: Everyone is extra busy at the end of the year. Many of these strategies are intended to help your organization stand out during this busy time.
1. Develop a content schedule. Things get hectic very quickly once the holidays start approaching. Prepare your content ahead of time, and map out specific dates for when you will disseminate your information. A good start would be to schedule all of your social media posts as far out as you can go.
2. Show off your work. Link to a page that shows your potential donors exactly what previous donations have helped accomplish. Sometimes it’s this kind of reassurance that gives your donors the final push to contribute.
3. Send out a video. As we mentioned, it’s important to find ways to stand out during the end of the year. Create a short 30 to 45 second video that highlights some of your accomplishments of the year so far. Don’t forget to include examples of the kind of work that still needs to be done! Learn how to craft the perfect video.
4. Keep your messages short and sweet. When you send out emails and other messages, don’t overdo it with too many words. Be clear about the “why” and then quickly get to the call-to-action (aka the “how”) so that your supporters can easily help without sifting through too much fluff.
5. Capture the heart of your organization. Whether it’s a virtual or in-person fundraising event, don’t forget to center your event around your organization’s mission. Especially at the end of the year, people want to know that their donations are going to a good cause. All you have to do is remind them!
6. Utilize all of your communication channels. Be sure to use email, social, website, mobile, physical mailers, and in-person marketing efforts if possible. Once again, the key to success during the end of the year is to get in front of as many people as possible. This is why it’s so important to expand your communication methods.
7. Make everything easy for your potential donors. From the registration pages to the donation links, everything should be user-friendly. When it comes to fundraising events, instructions for the silent auction should be clear and concise. Don’t lose out on donations by over complicating things. We recommend distributing a “know before you go” document before any events to let your donors know what to expect and how to participate in giving opportunities.
8. Don’t be afraid to mention the words “tax-deductible.” It’s the end of the year. It’s no secret that people are thinking in terms of tax deductions. We don’t suggest flaunting this term all over the place; however, don’t be afraid to throw it in here and there if the situation feels appropriate.
9. Don’t plan your fundraising events too close to the holidays. For starters, it’s a good idea to map out all of the holidays during the last few months of the year. With so many holidays, it can be easy to overlook some of them. Find a date that doesn’t interfere with any of these holidays. Holiday-themed fundraisers can certainly be successful, but if you land on the holiday itself (or very close to it), you will likely see lower participation. For example, Thanksgiving week is a very tough week for a fundraiser that rarely brings success. Read our blog about how best to capitalize on corporate holiday parties for your nonprofit.
10. Show off your prizes. This is a strategy that is especially effective if you are promoting popular high value prizes, such as travel. At the end of year, people are often planning out their trips for the New Year. This isn’t the time to be shy with your travel trip promotions and other big-name items that you can show off!
If your organization is looking for more strategies to meet your goals for the end of the year, please contact the American Fundraising Foundation. Our team of development professionals is always looking ahead for the most creative and effective ways to help nonprofits achieve their goals. Thank you for reading and stay safe!
This article was written by the fundraising experts at the American Fundraising Foundation (AmFund). Each year, AmFund carefully chooses organizations to support through sponsorship of events, year-end grant distribution of financial support, virtual silent auctions, and other programs to raise much-needed unrestricted funds for the important mission of those organizations. AmFund is recognized with the GuideStar Platinum Seal of Transparency and since 1999 has donated nearly $40 million dollars for worthy causes.
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