FYI Blog

September Best Practices: Planning for Year-end Appeals

Calendar from PresAs I wrote last September, if your year-end fundraising planning isn’t on the front burner yet, move it there now! Don’t forget that donors are paying attention and looking for last-minute giving opportunities at the end of the year.

Please check out last year’s ideas to implement best practices for your year-end campaign, and then read on for a few more ideas for this year. Some of these are probably strategies you’re already using, but here’s what’s working for us:

Test timing. Have you been using the same schedule for the past few years without evaluating what timing works best? Revisit your schedule to see if earlier/later mail and send dates might improve results.

December 31. Are you maximizing the last day of the year? This is — by far — the most productive date, so be sure to send an online appeal on December 31, and at a time that gives it the best chance to be seen. And consider sending twice – many organizations have had success with this approach, with the goal of staying at the top of the donor’s in-box.

Giving Tuesday. Give it a try: create a test campaign strategy around this date – December 3 this year — to kick off your year-end online giving.

Test formats. Just because you’ve always mailed a certain package at year end doesn’t mean an alternate can’t work better. Always mail a card in November and a letter in December? Then test flipping the order. Always mail a premium package in December? Perhaps a more mission-based approach could be more productive.


Final reminders from last year’s blog: Just when you think you’ve finished preparing for your year-end campaign, start working on a thank-you email for early January highlighting an accomplished goal or other organizational news. This works as a nice cultivation – especially following a hectic season filled with many asks. And be sure to include year-end donors in your first renewal in January – they typically perform well!