Your #1 Year-End Fundraising Strategy

Nov 11, 2021Donor Communication, Donors, Leadership, Message, Relationships, Time Management

Your-1-Year-End-Fundraising-Strategy Donor Communication Donors Leadership Message Relationships Time Management

Do you know your #1 year-end fundraising strategy?

Are you feeling a little frantic as you look at your fundraising goals and budget?

If so, you are not alone.

I remember when on the frontlines of fundraising, I never felt I was ahead of the curve when year-end was approaching. I always felt I needed to be doing something else. That what I was doing, was not enough.

Well, maybe you’re riding high with your fundraising plans right now.

Then again, maybe you know there is more you could be doing before year-end hits.

Keep the Donors You Have

If you follow me, you know one of my #1 fundraising strategies is to Keep the Donors You Have!

It reminds me of the saying, “only floss the teeth you want to keep!”

Well certainly, you want to keep all of your donors! You don’t want to lose them!!! You don’t want to start over each year finding new donors. That would be exhausting, much less irresponsible.

Here’s the thing . . .

This is the season for giving thanks.

And donors want to hear from you. They want and need to hear from you in a personal way. And not to hear you ask them for money!

So what fundraising strategy should you be implementing right now – this week?

Your #1 Year-End Fundraising Strategy

Most importantly, before Thanksgiving, set aside time to make phone calls to your top donors. You will decide your (and your staff’s) bandwidth what’s possible.

This is how you need to spend your time right now – it’s your opportunity cost.

Fundraising Strategy: #1 Create a List

From your database (CRM), first make a list of your top donors. Then highlight those you have not heard from this past year or likely have more to give.

Create a manageable list. Maybe it is just 10 people.

Fundraising Strategy: #2 Contact Each Donor

As soon as possible, you’re going to pick up the phone and contact each person on your list.

Certainly, the week before Thanksgiving or sooner, contact each person on your list starting with those who have not given or given at capacity this year.

You’re going to work the list.

Fundraising Strategy: #3 Use this Message Sample

Your message goes something like . . .

Hi Joe! Nancy here.

How are you?

How’s your father?

Are you able to get together with your family this year for Thanksgiving?

I have been thinking of you and your family.

[Pause when needed and allow a conversation to unfold. Then carry on with . . .]

As Thanksgiving approaches, I just wanted to call and say how thankful we are of you and Mary.

You have been such a loyal and enthusiastic supporter of our X program.

We couldn’t do what we do without your support.

You have helped [then share the transformation that takes place at your organization].

No doubt, donors want to hear from you.

And maybe they may bring up their past giving and let you know funds are on the way.

Say thank-you!!!

Takeaways of Your Year-End Fundraising Strategy

Above all, pick up the phone and call top donors. Enjoy a focused and meaningful conversation with them.

These are your friends. So make it feel that way.

In short, your friends want to feel valued and appreciated. That’s up to you to make them feel that way.

To that end, let them know how thankful you are for them.

You are not checking off boxes. You are engaging in a conversation with a friend.

So ask, how are you making your friends feel valued and appreciated as the holiday season approaches?

Nancy Rieves, Ed.D. is a fundraising coach. She provides executive and development directors with a roadmap to maximize and sustain major gift fundraising. She prepares leaders to be confident and successful in raising money. Reach her at nancy@nancyrieves.com.


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