Recently I taught a free webinar with Network for Good about gaining momentum in a year-end fundraising campaign. And if you’ve ever been on a webinar with me, then you know I enjoy checking in with attendees and asking them lots of questions. At the beginning of this particular webinar, I asked everyone how they are feeling about their year-end campaign on a scale of 1 to 5. 5 is feeling great and ready to rock, and 1 is feeling under-prepared and stressed out.
The vast majority of the 900+ people on the webinar shared that they are feeling at about a 3, which translates to middle of the road, okay-ish about their year-end campaign. I wasn’t too surprised to hear this. After all, we’ve still got a few weeks to go before Giving Tuesday and many of us are still getting our ducks in a row.
But here’s the truly important thing – these next few weeks are crucial for year-end fundraising success.
To make the most of your time and to ultimately feel at a 5 about your year-end campaign, you have to be on the ball. But in an environment where it’s easy to bend to the tyranny of the urgent, it’s all too easy to let the truly important things fall off your to-do list. And that brings me to a piece of advice for year-end I often give to clients and students.
Advice for Year-End Fundraising
Given that our work days can be chaotic and new challenges crop up daily, we have to be prepared to stay the course on our most important work no matter what. In order to do that, you need to have clarity on your path to success.
So here’s my question for you — What needs to happen in the next couple of weeks for you to feel great about your year-end campaign?
Set a timer for 5 minutes right now and do a brain dump of all the things that would help you feel prepared to run your best campaign yet.
Maybe it’s getting all of your emails written and uploaded to your email service provider. Maybe it’s scheduling time in your calendar for donor stewardship. Maybe it’s scheduling breaks in your day. Whatever needs to happen for you to feel prepared, confident, and ultimately less stressed out, write it down.
Now, here’s my secret planning trick. Make a second list of all the obstacles you might face to get through that first list you made. Then list one action step you can take to overcome each of these obstacles.
Familiarizing yourself with potential obstacles and what you’ll do about them is the best advice for year-end fundraising I can give you.
Obstacles are inevitable in fundraising campaigns. Your success depends on your ability to overcome them.
Resources to Help You Prepare for Year-End Fundraising
As you prepare your to-do list and find yourself needing some resources, here are some that might help you.
Giving Tuesday Tips for Non-Profits series– Four videos that cover tips to help you improve your Giving Tuesday campaign.
How to Decide on the Message and Theme for Your Year-End Appeal– These are two basic things every campaign needs.
Two Stories You Must Tell During Year-End Fundraising – This post includes a breakdown of two examples
How to Tell a Non-Profit Story – Connect the Story to a Broader Context– If you are struggling to figure out your angle and hook your audience, this will help you. I consider this to be one of my most useful storytelling tips.
5 Simple Steps to Plan Year-End Communication– If you need help figuring out the communications aspect of your campaign, read this.
5 Tips to Get Organized for Year-End Fundraising – I majorly heart being organized. Of course, in the midst of a busy time, it can be hard to feel organized. These are my best and most favorite tips for #KeepItTogether.
A Question Every Fundraising Email Should Answer – One of my best pieces of advice for fundraising emails.
How to Create an Email Calendar – This is a quick tutorial to show you how to set up an email calendar and get organized.
3 Tips That Will Help You Raise More Money in December – Fundraising isn’t rocket science. These are simple tips organizations of any size can use to get leverage in their campaign.