“Got any ideas for last-minute fundraising?”

I’ve been asked this question a LOT lately.

Everyone can hear the clock ticking.

We’ve got two weeks before 2014 is history.

And the prominent thought on the minds of many is “how do I get the most from the last days of the year?”

I’ve got good news.

Even with just a handful of days left, there are still several things you can do to get a bump in donations before New Year’s Eve.

Here are seven ideas for last-minute, year-end fundraising.


  1. Call to say “thanks”. The most powerful fundraising tool you have is sitting on your desk. Or in your pocket. Pick up the phone and call your top 10-20 best donors just to say “thanks.” If they haven’t yet made a gift this year, it’s a subtle reminder. If they have already given, you’re making a deposit into the relationship.
  2. Get them involved. Offer volunteer opportunities through the holidays,

    especially family-friendly ones. People love to do things that make them feel good, and volunteering can not only do that, but give folks a personal experience with your organization. You’ve got time to email out a call for volunteers or post something on Facebook.

  3. Hold an open house. Schedule an open house to let people come see what you’re doing. It doesn’t have to be fancy – you don’t even have to do refreshments. Just give people the chance to see the front lines of your nonprofit. If you’d rather not do an open house, let your supporters know you’ve got a couple of openings for private tours before the end of the year and see what happens. The folks who take you up on it are seriously interested in your mission, and are open to the potential to deepen the relationship.
  4. Pitch a story to the local news media. The week between Christmas and New Year’s is typically a slow news week. Reporters are looking for feel-good stories that they can create and load up now so they can take time off between those holidays. Reach out NOW to your local media and make it easy for them to say “yes” to your story. Pull together all the ‘who, what, when where’ details of the story along with a photo opp.
  5. Send an e-appeal campaign. The last week of the year is THE biggest for online donations. Reach out to your donors and supporters by emailing with a message that’s interesting and relevant. Send email #1 on Dec 26, email #2 on Dec 29, and email #3 on Dec 31. If this feels like too much email to you, don’t worry – it’s not. Keep the messages focused on how your nonprofit changes lives. This is NOT the time to ask for support for your annual fund (no one cares about your Annual Fund but you).
  6. Show up on Facebook. Plan what you’ll post and when on Facebook the last week of the year. Make sure to vary it a bit so you’re not constantly reminding people to make a year-end gift. It’s okay to do some of that, but mix it up with posts that show your organization in action, testimonials from happy clients, memes that make people laugh and your favorite quotes. Use plenty of graphics to keep it visually interesting. The Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley (HSTV) does a great job of mixing it up. Find them at www.Facebook.com/Humanesocietytennessee.
  7. Leverage relationships. Ask your supporters to invite their friends to join them in supporting your mission. You can easily accomplish this by adding it to the end of your email signature and by including it in your e-appeals. I did this with a client several years ago, and asked their Board members to forward the message out to their friends and contacts. We raised an additional $10,000 with that strategy.

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