Pre-Gaming Year-End

September 7th, 2022

Students are back in school and summer is unofficially behind us. And – buckle up – Christmas is less than 4 months away.

Have your breath back yet?

If you’re a fundraiser, you’re probably well into your year-end planning already. If you’re not, you should start today. “Pre-gaming” year-end can give your bottom line a significant boost in December.

What things should you do now to make your year-end the best it can be? First, you need to start immediately on your year-end direct mail campaign. 2022 is an election year which means for the end of September and most of October, the print shops will be overrun with prepping and sending mailings for candidates. Plus the printing and paper industry is still burdened with supply chain issues which have resulted in envelope and paper shortages.

It’s also a good idea to set your overall year-end campaign plan including messaging, social media, and digital communications in addition to direct mail. Plan how Giving Tuesday will work into the overall plan. Decide your year-end email and overall digital strategy. When thinking through your year-end planning process, here are a few recommendations of what you can be doing now to improve your campaign results.

1) Secure a match gift… or two. Matching gift challenges – for example, where a donor agrees to match (or double… or triple… or more) all donations in full up to a certain amount of money – are always a winning bet.

Our testing has shown a matching gift at year-end can increase revenue by 20–50%. In addition, statistics from Philanthropy Works show a matching gift increases total dollar contributions by 18% and increases the likelihood that an individual will give by 22%. That’s a pretty significant boost.

Match gifts can be secured in multiple ways. A single donor or business can make a large gift to be used as a challenge or gifts from multiple donors can be combined into one match challenge (for example, 4 donors give $25,000 each for a total $100,000 match).

Think about securing multiple matching gifts to be used for different segments of your campaign (for example, Giving Tuesday, your direct mail, the last week of the year), or aim for one large match for all of year-end.

Major donors typically like matching gifts because their charitable contribution’s impact can go twice as far, and inspire more people to give to the cause they love. Businesses often appreciate the positive exposure a public campaign can provide.

2) Love on donors. September and October are a great time to show your donors some love and appreciation as a warm-up for year-end asks. If you haven’t sent a newsletter or an update email in a while, now’s the time. Be sure to tell your donors all the great things that have happened because of their gifts and thank them for the difference they are making.

Now also is a great time to reach out to major and middle donors with a thank you phone call.

Recruit your board members, development team, program staff, and volunteers to help and provide them with a script of what to say. More than likely, callers will go to voicemail, and can simply leave a nice heartfelt ‘thank you’ message. Include a story or anecdote if possible so donors can understand how their gift is making a direct impact.

3) Check your systems and don’t launch new ones. Now is the time to clean-up your mailing lists, acknowledgment process, and any other internal procedures that could cause delays or issues at year-end.

November and December also is NOT the time to launch a new website, change digital platforms, convert to a new database, or overhaul your acknowledgment process. You want to be focused on raising money at year-end and you want donors to be able to give as easily and comfortably as possible, without hiccups or delays.

Again, don’t wait around until November to start pulling together your year-end campaign. Instead, use the time now to thoughtfully thank your donors, line up that match, and double-check your processes so December will be smooth sailing!

Category: Article, Resources