06 Nov

Top 15 List to Make the Most of Year-End Fundraising and Marketing (It’s not too late!)

The fourth quarter is key for most nonprofits looking to hit their fundraising numbers. Be prepared for a strong finish with these top 15 tips to make the most of year-end fundraising and marketing. It is not too late!

  1. Decide on a powerful image, story(ies) and social media slogan to use for your year-end appeal. Stay consistent with the image and slogan even if you use multiple stories.
  2. Thank and send Season’s Greetings to your staff, board, end-users, community, prospects, donors (see also #4) and community partners.
  3. Run a year-end giving campaign with a strong appeal letter and have a social media component.   Think multi-channel.
  4. Send holiday greetings via video to donors and/or invite large donors to appropriate year-end events.
  5. Look at your top lapsed donor lists and identify the top 10-15 who have not given this year. The holiday season is busy but a time of generosity. Find a time to meet with them, fill them in on what the organization has been up to and ask for a commitment for this year. Tell them you have missed them and want (and need) them back!
  6. Invite your local politicians and community opinion leaders for a holiday site or event visit.
  7. Review your top prospect list and make as many in-person visits as possible. Engage your board members in the meetings to the extent possible.
  8. Make pre-thank you for your past support and follow-up phone calls from your appeal letter to your top annual appeal donors and lapsed donors.
  9. Plan to send follow-up email appeals during the last few days of December. Studies show that 40 percent of online donors make their gifts in December, and another 40 to 60 percent of those donations are made December 30 and 31.
  10. Make sure your website is updated and has a great big, easy to locate “donate now” button and that making the actual donation is seamless. TEST! TEST! TEST!
  11. If you reside in a corporate office building, inquire with your landlord about fundraising opportunities and ask that they consider doing something for your cause or organization.
  12. Make sure to focus on the donor – personalize and use the word “you” as many times as possible. Remember the appeal is not about your organization. It is about your donor and what they care about and want your organization to achieve.
  13. Create urgency. What will happen if you raise this money? What will happen if you don’t?  Why should people act now? Make the language clear and not lofty or long winded.
  14. Use charts and infographics to convey your message.
  15. Thank donors at least three ways, four is better. Say thank you when they make a donation if online, by e-mail receipt, and by thank-you letter in the mail preferably with a hand-written note on it. Bonus: have a call thank-a-thon!

What else is on your year-end list?

Nanette Fridman, MPP, JD, is President of Fridman Strategies, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in strategic planning, financial resource development, governance and leadership coaching for nonprofits. She is the author of “On Board: What Current and Aspiring Board Members Must Know About Nonprofits & Board Service.” Nanette can be reached at

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