Monday Mixtape 031: Year-End Fundraising Planning Tips & Best Practices

Monday Mixtape 031: Year-End Fundraising Plans

Here’s your Monday Mixtape, a weekly newsletter from CauseVox designed to jumpstart your week, challenge your thinking, and inspire you to keep at it.

Each week, we’ll hand-pick must-read articles, thinking, resources, and stories for nonprofit fundraisers and leaders and drop it in your inbox. Have suggestions or questions? Let us know at Enjoy this week’s Mixtape!

Pour yourself a pumpkin spice latte. We’re more than halfway through September, which can only mean one thing:

Gotta get going on that year-end fundraising.

October through December is the busiest fundraising time of the year. The way you approach the last quarter of 2018 can make a big difference for your organization.

But year-end fundraising is a huge project. Your season may include #GivingTuesday, holiday giving, and end of the year campaigns. You’re probably communicating on several channels, too. Maybe you’re trying out peer-to-peer fundraising, or hosting a community event, too.

Whew. That’s a lot to pack into a short period of time.

A successful year-end fundraising season begins with a plan. If you haven’t started yet, don’t panic, but also, don’t wait. This week, we’re looking at tips for making a plan and managing a project, so you can stay on top of the most generous season of the year.

Here’s this week’s mix:

“Operations keeps the lights on, strategy provides a light at the end of the tunnel, but project management is the train engine that moves the organization forward.” —Joy Gumz

Track #1: Tackle Big Projects Productively by Kevin Daum at

When you’re tackling a big project, the way you do things is almost as important as what you do. In this piece, Kevin shares five tips he’s gleaned from reading and interviewing Harvard Business School’s Robert Pozen, a productivity expert.

Daum recommends identifying the blocks that inhibit your productivity, starting at the end of a project and working backwards to plan it, avoiding perfectionism, delegating appropriately, and creating reward-based motivation for yourself.

Right now, I challenge you to spend a minute thinking about good rewards to give yourself as you hit year-end milestones. Get yourself a cup of hot chocolate when you put your appeals in the mail. Find a quiet spot to sit and breathe once you’ve entered all your data for your #GivingTuesday report. This will motivate you, but it will also help you take care of yourself during this stressful season.

Track #2: The Ideal Year-End Fundraising Campaign Timeline by Tina Jepson at CauseVox

If you’re staring at your calendar wondering where to begin, I’ve got good news: Tina already outlined a fundraising timeline for you. In this post, she lays out key actions and when to perform them, ranging from October to January.

I like how Tina structured this post around deadlines because it keeps things on track, while allowing for flexibility. If you know something should be ready by November 1, it’s up to you how you get it done in October.

Center for Community Solutions

Weekly Wow: How Center for Community Solutions Raised 5x More Last Giving Tuesday

To ensure Center for Community Solutions is meeting the needs of their clients, staff work tirelessly to raise much-needed funds through direct-mail and online fundraising campaigns. They first introduced a #GivingTuesday fundraiser in 2016 and seamlessly met their goal of $5,000.

But things got even more exciting in 2017. The development team worked on a new strategy and Kimberly Jenks, Special Events and Marketing Manager, managed a successful #GivingTuesday campaign raising a whopping $26,190 over the course of 24 hours.

See how they raised $26k (5x their previous year) here.

Track #3: A Clever Way For Nonprofits To Prepare For The End Of The Year by Joan Garry at Joan Garry Consulting

Energizing your board is an important part of year-end fundraising. In this post, Joan offers a creative idea (complete with scripts!) to get your board excited about heading “back to school” with your organization.

Joan’s idea is for your board chair and executive director to send your board members a fresh box of pencils to trigger that “new school year” excitement, along with a “syllabus” outlining your year-end goals.

Would your board go for this? I’ve worked with people who’d love it, and others that would find it too cutesy. What do you think?

Track #4: 7 Free Project Management Tools For Nonprofits by Haley Bodine at CauseVox

The busiest time of the year is not the time for excessive emails to check up on tasks. It’s definitely not the time for extra meetings. Project management tools can help everyone see where tasks are in the process, who’s responsible for what, and identify where things get derailed (it happens!). Using these tools is also a great way to automate reminding people to do things.

In this post, Haley explores seven free options and how they work. If you’re considering using this kind of tool, take a look.

Bonus Tracks:

Ensure you understand the game you’re playing … 

My personal reward is pictures of hedgehogs, honestly.

By the way…

#GT_logo2013-final copy small

Giving Tuesday is a huge fundraising opportunity for your nonprofit. However, increased participation makes it difficult for your campaign to stand above the noise—let alone hit your goals.

So, we hosted a live, 45-minute panel discussion with three nonprofit fundraising leaders who will share exactly how they plan and promote their Giving Tuesday campaigns.

They’ll also share best practices and tips that helped them stand above the noise and raise over $100,000 collectively during last year’s Giving Tuesday.

Learn more and register here (this will fill up).

Thanks for reading!

Sign up to have the Monday Mixtape delivered to your inbox.

– Megan

P.S. Questions about this week’s mix? Suggestions for next week? Don’t leave me in the dark. Let me know by emailing me at

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