November 18, 2020

Three Ways to Maximize Your Fundraising in the Final Weeks of the Year

As the final weeks of the year fly by, many of us are ready to close the book and start back up again in January. But don’t wish the time away—there’s still plenty your development team can accomplish in this crucial fundraising window!  

Here are three strategies for meeting your year-end goals efficiently and effectively.  

Prioritize Retention.  

Most organizations will not have as substantial of an acquisition this year as last. To offset this, you will need to focus on increasing donor retention and stewarding last year's donors. Review yours and make sure everyone who gave last year gets an ask again before the year is out. Follow up individually as necessary for donors who are lapsed to let them know personally how important their gift is this year. 

Implement a multi-channel engagement strategy.  

With so much information flooding our newsfeeds and inboxes, you will need to do more each year to capture your stakeholder's attention. If your organization has relied on direct mail annual appeals in the past, create corresponding digital appeals to guarantee you reach your stakeholders where they are most susceptible to messages.  

With so little time left in the year, let your content do the work for you by translating one piece for multiple platforms. For example, one video testimony from one of your programs’ beneficiaries could become: 

  • A full-length video for Facebook   
  • A series of shorter videos for Instagram, Threads, Twitter/X, or TikTok  
  • An e-blast asking stakeholders to donate to continue that program next year (try a quote from the testimony as your subject line) 
  • A YouTube video embedded in your website or on your blog 
  • A direct mail piece highlighting the faces of your organization  

Keep your messaging lively, interesting, personal, and on point.  

Show your gratitude.  

Before your office (or virtual office) closes for the holidays, every donor deserves a heartfelt thank you for helping you weather the challenges of the past few years. This can be as simple as a digital holiday card to your donors or as personal as a phone call from a board member. Keep your donor thank you calls streamlined and consistent. 

However you choose to convey your gratitude, be specific in how your organization has handled this year’s unique challenges, communicating your impact through data as much as possible. Show your donors how their contributions continued to fuel your mission through recent challenges. Then, convey your exciting plans for next year so that they will want to be part of it. 

Following these three strategies will not only ensure that you’re not leaving money on the table, it will make your donors feel valued and ready for next year’s mission! 

A version of this article was originally published November 18, 2020. It was updated November 29, 2023.

Streamline your board members' thank you calls with our easy-to-follow guide.

Download the Guide

Written by

Amy Funk

Amy Funk is Senior Vice President at TWB Fundraising.


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