Year-End Fundraising Checklist: 2017 Edition


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Year-end fundraising is a whirlwind. There are events to plan. Galas to throw. Appeals to make. Donors to visit. Statements to write. Year-end reports to mail. It’s easy to get so caught up in the goings-on that you forget to double-check the basics of your online fundraising strategy.

The unofficial kick-off of the holiday fundraising season is Giving Tuesday, and that’s right around the corner. It’s time to get your online fundraising process streamlined and ready to go so you don’t have to worry about it later!

Year-end fundraising is one of the most frantic and rewarding time of year. Make it a little less frantic and a little more rewarding by checking your online fundraising assets. Here’s a (basic!) rundown of what to check:

Year-End Fundraising Checklist: Your Website

You’re telling your story and asking for appeals on social media, through print, through email, and through every other possible channel. Most of your audience will go online to donate. Are you ready for them?

Your story is powerful — that’s why people respond to you! Carry the story you tell onto every part of your website. Use cohesive pictures, language, stories, and branding across every appeal and page on your site. Your donors will stay immersed in your story, which keeps them engaged through the donation process.

Make sure it’s easy for your donors to get to your donation form. Don’t make them work to make a donation! Your donate button should be big, bright, and easily visible.

Year-End Fundraising Checklist: Your Donation Form

Your appeals, posts, and website have the same branding — and so should your donation form! Don’t keep donors immersed in a story and then drop them onto an unbranded donation form. That kind of transition can startle a donor and discourage them from making a gift.

Resist the temptation to use your donation form to learn about your donors. Adding additional fields to your form discourages donors from finishing what they see as a complicated process. Remember, you don’t want to make people work to donate to you! Keep your form fields to a minimum; you’ll have plenty of opportunities to learn about your donors in the future. It’s a great reason to talk to donors in the future!

One small detail that can make a big difference is your form’s security seals. Donors appreciate knowing that their personal information and payment details are private. While removing security seals from your form might make it look nice, it can also put off cautious donors. Leave them there!

Year-End Fundraising Checklist: Your Donor Follow-Up Process

Your job isn’t done once someone makes a donation! Successful, sustainable fundraising depends on great donor retention. You’ll likely get an influx of new donors this season; make sure you know how to keep them.

The first few days after a donor makes a gift is the most important (check out this hilarious take on what donors think about after they give). They’ll set the tone for the rest of your relationship with that donor; make the most of them!

You can make a big impression on donors just by customizing your confirmation page and your receipt. Regular email updates will also keep donors engaged with your organization and its work.

Year-End Fundraising Checklist: Your Communications Checklist

You’ve checked your posts, pages, and appeals. Now you just need to figure out who is going to post/mail what assets and at what time. Make your communications more effective by segmenting your donor lists; donors want information that’s relevant to their experiences, not a mass mailing! Targeting your appeals and follow-ups to the right audiences takes a little extra time, but the return will be worth it.

Make sure your staff understand ahead of time who owns which segment or which style of communication. It’ll save plenty of headaches in the future!

Year-End Fundraising Checklist: Bookkeeping Checklist

Literally no one likes to think about bookkeeping when they’re slammed. Simple steps like making sure your accountant has the permissions they need to pull and compile reports can make a big difference on your stress levels later in the year; be ready now! You can also get a jump on the bookkeeping process by building and saving templates for year-end reporting or donor summaries.

Year-end fundraising is fun, stressful, exhilarating, and overwhelming… all at the same time. It’s easy to let some pieces of your strategy fall through the cracks — we think this checklist will help you get your online fundraising process ready for the holiday season.

Want a downloadable version of this checklist? We made you one — download it here!


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