Fundraising Blog
Wednesday, 14 September 2011 17:35

As we approach the fall season, many organizations are working on plans for their end-of-the-year fundraising activities.

In the previous two posts, seven ideas were shared to make your year-end fundraising more productive.

Here are the final 3 of the top 10 ideas:

8. See It Through the Eyes of a Potential Donor
Click your “Donate Now” button to see what donors will experience.  Is it clear and easy to understand the appeal and donate a gift?  If not, it’s not hard to make corrections before it’s too late.  Need help?  One organization I suggest you consider is Network for Good  (  Recently, a client realized they needed help in this area and within 2 days, they were up and running with a much improved “Donate Now” solution at a competitive price.  If in doubt, ask for help.  Remember, online giving picks up significantly this time of the year.  A small investment of time can have a big payoff.  In addition, once donors make their gift, ask them why they gave.  This is invaluable information.  Keep track of this information for the overall campaign and also include this into their record in your donor management system. 

9.  Think Segment, Segment, Segment
Segmentation can be simple or complex.  Some examples of segmentation options are past giving history based on different gift levels, estimated capacity, level of relationship, level of interest in your work, lapsed donors (LYBUNTS - Last Year But Not This Year and SYBUNTS – Some Year But Not This Year) and volunteers.  Understanding that fundraising is in its simplest form a communication strategy will help you take the next step. 

Since your fundraising strategy is also a communication strategy, then ask yourself “Which media is the best method to communicate with each segment?”  For example, your major donors should be reached personally by the person in your organization who has the best relationship with that donor.  Likewise, prospective donors of the highest capacity warrant a personal appeal by the person in your organization closest to that person or have a third party make an introduction.  Additionally, others segments can be reached through a combination of calls and follow up emails or snail mail appeals.  Use an email campaign software system like Constant Contact ( or Mail Chimp ( and to track your results.  The more specifically you can segment your donors and prospective donors for your year-end campaign, the better your results.

10.  The Rule of 3’s:
Send your first appeal by the 2nd or 3rd week of November to introduce the campaign and make the initial appeal.  Follow up with a second “update” appeal in early December to those that didn’t respond.  Then send a series of 3 emails scheduled to land on Monday Dec. 26th, Wednesday Dec. 28th and Friday, Dec. 30th to help reach the remainder of your goal and capture those last minute gifts. 

In summary, regardless of what you’ve done to prepare for your year-end fundraising, you can apply some of these ideas to increase your results. Stay focused and don’t stop until you reach your goal.  Then take time to celebrate and liberally thank your donors for their generosity. 

Have fun fundraising!

Coaches Corner
Let’s apply these year-end fundraising ideas.  Ask yourself these questions:

  • What’s my fundraising goal between now and December 31st?
  • Who can I recruit to help make this year-end fundraising season a success?
  • What’s the timing for our appeals to arrive via email or snail mail?
  • What do I need to do next?
  • What’s the next action after that?


Wednesday, 07 September 2011 00:39

In our last post on effective non-profit year end fundraising ideas, we discussed the first 4 ideas to make your year-end fundraising more productive.

Your year-end fundraising activities should raise enough funding to finish the year strong and provide some reserves to start next year with money in the bank. 

Here are the next 3 of the top 10 ideas:

5. Grab the Reader
Think headline, billboard or book cover - 7 words or less.  Your appeal needs to stop people in their tracks to grab their attention so they want to hear more.  This principle is universal whether communicating face-to-face, online, via email, snail mail or social media.  Make your messaging an emotional appeal.  We all know people give when their heart is attached to the need or cause.  Make it easy for people to connect.  It’s one thing to ask for help for a water well project and another to give the “gift of life” through fresh water.   Use pictures and the stories of those whose lives are changed as representations of what their gift will do for others in need.

6. Monetize Your Mission
I‘m a believer in Stephen Covey’s principle, “Begin with the End in Mind.”  Start developing your response card and the landing page for your appeal first.  Regardless of how much you’re raising, identify the monthly and special gift sizes and then identify the impact of each gift.  Donors will be moved to give and at higher levels if they know what their gift will accomplish.  Do not skip this step!  With all the non profits I’ve worked with over the years, I only ran across one that wasn’t able to identify their numbers and only because they were new and had no service history.

7. Matches are Magnets
Consider contacting those closest to your organization with the appeal to help you raise a pool of matching funds to attract new or larger year end gifts.  If you can jump start your year-end fundraising campaign with a matching gift, you’ll raise more money in less time.  Many of our clients are calling key donors now to secure matching gifts and it works.

In Part 3, I will share the final 3 ideas in the top 10 for effective non-profit year end fundraising.

You are well on your way to your goal!

Wednesday, 31 August 2011 04:11

This is the time when most non-profit organizations are looking for year-end fundraising ideas to raise more money.  If your organization hasn’t started its fundraising planning, it’s not too late, but there’s no time to waste. Ideally, your year-end fundraising activities should raise enough funding to finish the year strong and provide some reserves to start next year with money in the bank. 

Here are first 4 of the top 10 ideas to make your year-end fundraising more productive:

1.  What’s Your Funding Goal?
Identify how much you need to raise by December 31st and communicate that amount.

2.  What Will These Funds Accomplish?
Remember, “money follows vision” and the more clearly you communicate to your constituents what these funds will accomplish, the easier it will be to reach your goal.  

3.  What’s Your Plan?
No plan in place? Try this approach.  Schedule an appointment with yourself to get away from your busy office to clear your head.  Whether it’s a cup of java at your favorite coffee shop or sitting outdoors on a park bench, take some time to think through your plan.  Knowing how much you need to raise and what it will accomplish, create the responses to the 5 W’s. 

•“Why” is your cause so important and “Why now,” is what donors need to know. 
•"Who" will you approach (which segments will you approach for funding)?
•"What" results will this funding accomplish? What are you asking them for?
•"When" (plan at least 3 touches between November 1st and December 31st)?
•“Where” will these funds be used?
• I also like the “How” question.  How will…you fill in the blank? 

The perfect plan is not important.  The key is to establish a road map and get started.  

4.  “Theme It"
Think outside of the box on this one.  If you’re stuck on how to clearly explain your organization’s work, ask trusted friends, family members and donors for their input.  Recently, a client I was working with was not able to clearly explain his organization’s work.  I asked him these questions: 

• What is the impact of this program or what will be different in their lives because of your work or this specific program?  
• Essentially, what will be different because of your intervention in the lives of those you serve?  And lastly, what would that ultimately lead to?

After a few follow up questions, we quickly netted out the bottom line and captured what raising these funds would do to impact their lives.  We uncovered a few “trigger” words that were the catalyst for creating the theme. Capture the key concept and then word smith it for a compelling theme. 

Remember, stay focused until you reach your goal.

In Part 2, I will share 3 more ideas in the top 10 for effective non-profit year end fundraising.


Monday, 01 November 2010 10:24

This is the time when most non profit organizations are looking for year end fundraising ideas to raise more money. If your organization hasn't started its fundraising planning, it's not too late, but there's no time to waste. Ideally, your year end fundraising activities should raise enough funding to finish the year strong and provide some reserves to start next year with money in the bank.

Monday, 01 November 2010 01:24

I’m excited to announce our new blog that will be buzzing with great content and BreakThru ideas about how to increase your funding faster.

Stay tuned for more…

Friday, 08 October 2010 05:25

In Part 1, developing a diverse funding plan was introduced as the key to non-profit fundraising success.  Once funding sources have been identified and financial goals are in place, a non-profit organization is ready to take the next step: creating a funding strategy.

Wednesday, 06 October 2010 12:38

In working with non-profits of all sizes, I have come to the conclusion that having a diverse funding plan is the key to non-profit fundraising success for an organization to accomplish being fully funded.  Let’s examine what this means and how your organization can achieve that goal.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010 04:24

In our last posting, we discussed the first 5 nonprofit fundraising ideas for identifying prospective donors for your organization.  In this post, we’ll finish up our list with some often “off the radar” ideas that have tremendous potential to strategically increase your donor base.

Monday, 20 September 2010 12:59

Whether you’re new or have been fundraising for 20 years and are looking for nonprofit fundraising ideas for identifying prospective donors for your organization, one of the most common questions our clients ask is “how do we find more people to approach as potential donors?”  Recent research indicated the average American knows at least 230 people. Whether you actually know more or less than that number is not important; what’s important to note is we typically know more people than we think we know.  My intention is to provide some creative thought starters as a catalyst for you and your team to expand your prospective donor base.  Here are the first 5 ideas for identifying prospective donors:

Monday, 30 August 2010 04:35

Events are one of the most effective fundraising ideas for nonprofit organizations to create awareness, cast vision, enjoy old and cultivate new relationships.  For year-end fundraising, events can be the difference maker to reach your funding goals for the year.