What Small-Shop Fundraisers Should Do at Year-End

What Small-Shop Fundraisers Should Do at Year-End

You Don’t Have Time to Do Everything

Those silly consultants. They give you a list of fifty-four things to do, but you only have time to do four of them.

I get it. (And I am guilty of it at times.)

But if you only have time to do four things … do you know which four are the most important?

My List for Small-Shop Fundraisers

If I were doing the fundraising for a small organization with limited resources (and time!) here’s what I’d do, and the order I’d do them in:

  1. Manage your major donors. Don’t just hope that they give a gift before the end of the year, manage them toward doing it! Know who your top donors are. Be in touch with them. Know exactly who hasn’t given a gift yet this year. Ask them to give a gift to help your beneficiaries or your cause (not to give a gift to your organization). Tell them their gift is needed now, and tell them their gift will make a difference.
  2. Write and send your year-end letter. Make sure you send out a great year-end letter that powerfully asks donors to give a special gift before the end of the year.
  3. Write and prep your year-end emails. Be sure to have at least three emails prepped for the last three days of the year. Remember that they can be very similar; you don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time.
  4. Update your website to ask for a year-end gift. It’s been true of every organization I’ve ever worked with: a LOT of people will go to your website in December with the express purpose of making a gift. If the first thing they see on your home page is a clear call-to-action and a large button, you will raise more money than you expect.

That’s it! If you can only do four things, do those four.

Make sure you do a great job on each of those before doing anything else.

If you can only do three things, do the top three.

And so on.

Just remember that year-end is the easiest time of the year to raise more money than you expect. And your donors are wonderful but busy people! So communicate to them as much as you can. You’ll love how much money you raise!


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.

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