December is coming. DECEMBER IS COMING!

December is coming. DECEMBER IS COMING!

For a lot of nonprofits, that means the biggest online fundraising campaign of the year is right around the corner.

Are you ready? 


The first thing I always recommend in year-end fundraising planning? Have a brainstorm. What should you cover? Here are 6 elements to discuss and decide in your first planning meeting.

1. Goal

what's your goal?

What’s your goal(s) for year-end? Photo credit:

How much money do you want to raise? (By when is easy – Dec. 31st). If you’ve got a campaign or two under your belt and are looking to add a layer, consider shooting for other goals like recruiting a certain number of new donors, securing a certain percentage of renewals, signing up XX many monthly donors, or increasing average gift size.

2. Theme

Brainstorming creative is one of my favorite things to do. I love to name things. But I also realize it’s just a theme…we’re not trying to be Don Draper and win a Clio Award.  Don’t freak out over your theme! I’ve worked with major nonprofits that have used the same theme for two, sometimes three years in a row, without a hiccup.

I think Tom said it best:

Tom Ahern quote on theme.

3. Stories

Stories are the heart of your campaign, so put some serious thinking into which stories you’ll use for your appeals. They should give donors the feels and inspire them to give. Highlight your successes, what unthinkable thing might happen if support slips, or the big hairy goal that requires everyone to be all in to achieve.

Brainstorm at least three strong stories to share with donors.

4. Coordination


Photo credit:

Everyone in your org should know – this is the big one, and you need support. Board members and staff can play a major role in helping you achieve your organization’s fundraising goals. Brainstorm what that might look like — will you write sample emails, Facebook posts or tweets for them; or try a board match; or challenge colleagues to see who can bring in the most in fundraising.

5. Timing

You’ve got your plans, but everyone else has theirs, too. Know what else is going on in the world and plot out those emails. Here’s what going on in December:

  • Dec. 1, Giving Tuesday
  • Dec. 1, World AIDS Day
  • Dec. 5, International Volunteer Day
  • Dec. 6-10, Hannukah
  • Dec. 10, International Human Rights Day
  • Dec. 11, International Mountain Day
  • Dec. 14, Sandy Hook Remembrance Day
  • Dec. 18, International Migrants Day
  • Dec. 24, Christmas Eve
  • Dec. 25, Christmas
  • Dec. 26, Boxing Day
  • Dec. 31, New Year’s Eve
  • Shipping days (this post has a summary of UPS, USPS and Fedex deadlines)

6. Help!

Year-end may be time to recruit some help. Photo credit:

You’re about to dial up the workload A LOT. Do you need help? Think about asking for or hiring help with graphics, writing, boosting social media, production or advertising.


What do you brainstorm in your fundraising planning? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Published On: October 8, 2015|Categories: Fundraising|