The First Step to Planning Your Best Year-End Fundraiser Yet

Ronnie Gomez

The season of giving is almost upon us, meaning it’s time to start planning your year-end fundraiser. Nearly one-third (31%) of annual giving occurs in December, meaning the holiday season is your biggest opportunity to make an impact on your organization. If you haven’t begun prepping yet, now is the time to start.

Having a clear game plan can make crafting this year’s final push a whole lot easier. We understand that the end of the year is also the busiest time of the year, both at work and at home. That’s why we crafted a detailed guide, dedicated to making this process as easy as possible and we wanted to give you a sneak peek today on our blog. Here’s everything you should take care of this week to knock your year-end fundraiser out of the park.

Download “The Ultimate Guide: Year-End Fundraising” Today!

The First Week: Setting the Foundation

The first week of planning your campaign should be dedicated to focusing on the bigger picture. Before you can go about crafting your ask or choosing a theme, you need to assess both your past and present. That means looking at your organization’s previous campaign performances, your current budget situation and your goals for your upcoming campaign. Complete this step by breaking it down into key tasks to finish throughout the week: review last year’s campaign, analyze your fiscal situation and strategic plans and set your goals.


The best way to set yourself up for success in the future is to review what has worked for you in the past. If you have specific metrics you can pull from previous year-end campaigns, that’s great! If not, don’t panic. You can still take this time to reflect on previous big wins and challenges. Use that information as a guide for what should be done this year. Some things to consider:

    • How much was raised last year? Was it above or below expectations? Why?
    • How many supporters engaged with your campaign? How many made donations?
  • What was the theme of your year-end fundraiser last year? How did people respond to it?

If you can, round up team members and leaders that were involved in last year’s campaign so they can debrief this year’s team on challenges, successes and advice. This will help make sure that everyone’s on the same page in terms of expectations and goals.


It’s important to take stock of your budget, operations and strategic goals before launching a big year-end campaign. That way you can get a better understanding of how the funds raised will impact your organization. Consider any unmet financial needs, and how your year-end fundraiser will potentially help bridge those gaps. Depending on your organization’s finances, you may want to consider integrating some of those numbers into your campaign theme.

Once you have a solid grasp on your current financial situation, take stock of your organization’s day-to-day operations and progress with strategic goals. This will help you better determine how the funds raised could help you achieve any goals that have been set aside due to budget concerns. Be sure to consider where you would allocate any surplus funds as well. It could be helpful when deciding how you’d like to frame your campaign.  

Set Goals

Setting specific, measurable goals is vital to the success of your year-end fundraiser. Obviously, the ultimate goal of your campaign is to increase revenue — but a more specific idea will help give your campaign additional direction. Your goal should include:

    • Exactly how much you would like to raise.
    • What that money will fund.
  • How you plan on raising it.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, either. Along with raising funds, your year-end campaign is a great opportunity to brand your organization, acquire new donors, raise your public profile or even recruit new volunteers. The options are limitless, so make sure you aim for whatever makes sense for your organization. A realistic, measurable, specific goal will give your campaign the additional direction it needs to your best push yet.

Want to get a head start on your next move? Download our newest e-book “The Ultimate Guide: Year-End Fundraising”. It outlines everything you need to do to plan a successful year-end fundraiser in just 7 weeks. Use it as a guidebook to organize your ideas, plans and resources and soon you’ll have a foolproof strategy your entire team can use. Plus, it includes a template for your own customizable calendar so you can visualize and time your campaign accordingly. Download your guide today!

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