Year-End Fundraising: What You Should Be Doing NOW

Time to plan

New guest author! Allyson Goldsmith is currently the Online Communications Manager at NOW, where she’s preparing for a year-end fundraising push. Today she brings us some good advice on that always-popular topic. And, be sure to follow her on Twitter and check out her website.

It’s August, which means fun in the sun, vacations and a few weeks without Congress in session. It also means it’s time to start thinking about December and end-of-year fundraising. I know you’re thinking, “you have got to be kidding.” And yes, I know for many of us our year-end content will depend on what happens in the midterm elections in November.

However, here are five things you can do now to prepare -– a little late-summer work will make your late fall and early winter far more pleasant. Trust me, time spent now will be worth it then!

1. Set your goal(s)

Decide on your goals for end-of-year fundraising. Is it a dollar amount or a number of donors or both? Make sure to base these goals on your previous year-end fundraising results, with an increase that makes sense for your list-growth plans for the year. I do this by looking at how much our list has grown vs. how much our fundraising has grown over the year. I also look at our year-end fundraising trend over time. Use these data points to set your end-of-year fundraising goals.

2. Decide on your tactics

What platforms will you use for fundraising, and how will you use them? Will you be using a light box (a pop-up “donate” window on your website) and if so, for how long? Will you redirect your home page to a dedicated fundraising page on December 31st, when most groups see a big bump in donations? Will you fundraise on social media? How many emails will you send? How will you space them out? How will you incorporate the results of early messages into your final appeals?

3. Set a timeline

When will you decide on your messaging? When will you write all of your emails? When will you create content and graphics for social media? Who will be responsible for each part of the plan? Who will need to approve the content, and how will that affect your timing?

4. Test things you may want to use during end-of-year fundraising

I’m a huge fan of testing. I believe everything should be tested. However, end-of-year fundraising is not the best time to test because your content should be as optimized as possible by December. So, test anything you may want to use during end-of-year fundraising NOW. Right now I’m testing different senders, one-click donations and whether or not a picture with the signature makes a difference. Everything I learn from these tests will be used to build a stronger email program and a stronger end-of-year fundraising plan.

5. Start optimizing donation pages

Are your donation pages mobile-friendly? If they aren’t, start working on that now. If you use Salsa, you’re in luck: Cornershop Creative has free mobile-friendly code for donation pages! You should also ask yourself if your donation pages are easy to read and use, and if you aren’t sure, do some user testing. For a start, ask people in your office or your friends to try to use them and see what their experience is. Be sure to ask people who aren’t as tech-savvy as you — you’re not the typical user.

Good luck with your end-of-year fundraising! Did I miss something you should be doing now? Comment below and tell me!

Thanks, Allyson! And readers, look for an announcement about a year-end fundraising training webinar soon. – cpd

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Allyson Goldsmith
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