Exactly How to Run a Fiscal Year-End Email Campaign

Send email.

Using email to raise money at fiscal year-end is exactly like using email to raise money the last week in December.

This month we’re teaching and blogging on fiscal year-end fundraising. Here’s why it works, here’s a sample letter, and here’s what to do in the mail.

And today, here’s how to use email to take your campaign to the next level and raise even more money.

Today we’re going to show you exactly what to do in email to raise money at Fiscal Year-End. It’s pretty simple…

Big Picture: Send Three Emails

Your first email should be:

  • Almost a word-for-word copy of your mailed appeal letter. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Instead, repeat what’s in the letter, because repetition helps your fundraising.
  • Sent approximately 3 days after you send your snail-mail appeal letter. Your goal is for it to arrive in your donor’s inbox the same day it arrives in their mailbox.
    • If your donors are spread across the country, or if you’re using nonprofit postage, you may want to wait 5 or 6 days after you send your appeal.

Your second email should be:

  • A copy of the first email you sent, but a little shorter. Say that you’re reminding your donor about the deadline on the 30th, and then use the same words, phrases and paragraphs that you used in your letter.
  • Sent the morning of June 29th.

Your third email should be:

  • A copy of the second email you sent, but a little shorter. Say that you’re reminding your donor about the deadline on the 30th, and then use the same words, phrases and paragraphs that you used in your letter.
    • One tactic we’ve used with great success: don’t write a third email; just “forward” your second email with a note at the top. The note should say something like, “Dear [NAME], I wanted to make sure you saw this. Thank you!”
  • Sent the morning of June 30.

The trick here is to send the same message in every email. It’s the repetition of the same message that helps drive it home!

Where Should the Links Go?

Every link in every email should go directly to your giving page. Don’t have links to your website’s home page, your Facebook page, or your Instagram account. We call those “attention leaks,” and they tend to reduce the amount of money you’ll raise.

Ideally, your giving page has updated copy at the top that mentions your “fiscal year-end campaign” and the important deadline of midnight, June 30th. You want that page to reinforce the message that your donors read in the appeal letter or email!

Who Should Receive Them?

Your emails should go to your entire list – every email address you have – with the following exceptions:

  1. If there are any Board members or staff members who won’t want to receive the emails, feel free to take them off the list.
  2. If you’re able, remove people who have given to the appeal or email from subsequent emails. For instance, if they give to the email on the 29th, they ideally would not receive the email on the 30th.
    • If you’re not able to do that, add a sentence in the email that says something like, “If you’ve already given a gift, thank you so much! If you haven’t, please give by midnight, Saturday night…” That will ‘get you off the hook’ for donors who give early but still receive the later email(s).

Our Goal This Month

It’s a simple goal. If your fiscal year ends on June 30th, our goal is for you to fundraise for it and use the tips and tactics we share this month. If you follow our time-tested advice, we know you’ll be surprised by how much money you can raise!

So follow along this month. If you haven’t already, sign up to receive our blog in your inbox. We’ll walk you through how to create a great fiscal year-end campaign – one that you can use every year to raise money in June!


Steven Screen is Co-Founder of The Better Fundraising Company and lead author of its blog. With over 25 years' fundraising experience, he gets energized by helping organizations understand how they can raise more money. He’s a second-generation fundraiser, a past winner of the Direct Mail Package of the Year, and data-driven.

2 comments on “Exactly How to Run a Fiscal Year-End Email Campaign

  1. I’d love suggestions of subject lines for these emails. I feel like that’s the part that always stumps me!

    1. The easiest answer is something like “Just 4 days left” and “only 1 day left” and “Today is the last day!” (based on whichever days you send the emails). That’s a tried and true, proven winner. There are other approaches, but this is the one we usually default to because it’s the deadline that drives the donor’s action. The only time I tend to use a different approach is when there’s a shortfall. I you have a shortfall, mention it!

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