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August 12, 2009

Is it the end of the year already?

Yummybbq

August is here and if you’re like most people you’re thinking about how to get as much fun as you can out the rest of summer—not about racing towards the end of shorts-weather, much less the end of the year.  Yet, savvy nonprofit fundraisers are already thinking about their end-of-year fundraising plans.  If you haven’t started, here are six things you should be doing now to help ensure you get the most from your end of year online fundraising.  And none of them require you to put on long pants!

Step up supporter acquisition efforts
Supporters who are added to your list this fall will be your donors this winter.  So step up your efforts to grow your email subscribers and increase the size of the other lists you’ll be using during your end of year promotions. 

Find out if an end of year campaign theme exists
Good will towards all?  New beginnings?  Peace and prosperity?  Cram ‘em in before tax season? The sooner you know what your theme is the sooner you can start pulling relevant content, generating ideas, and highlighting your organizations most pertinent accomplishments. 

Review Last Year’s Lessons
You can maximize your efforts for the upcoming end of year campaign by looking at what you did in previous years.  Determine what worked, and whether it would work again this year.  And consider what didn’t work, and why it didn’t work.

Get pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard)
Start getting it done early!  Come up with ideas and write quick drafts, just to cut through the noise.  It’s not so terribly important that what you produce in September be earth shattering and fit to publish.  Just give your campaign a back bone to shape the body around.  Revisiting something you wrote this fall is going to be easier and produce better results than hammering away at a brilliant idea on December 30.

Plan Backwards
We all have the challenge of having too much to do and too little time to do it. Backward planning is a useful way to address this problem. Conveniently, we know the deadline:  December 31st.  Now you can assess what steps are needed to accomplish your goals by that date, and plot tasks along a timeline backwards at realistic intervals in order to determine what point you need to start your campaign.

Figure out what can you get ready now, whether you like your ideas or hate them.
The holiday season is not the time to begin making changes. If you want to create a holiday related donation page, redesign an email template, or tweak your homepage – the time is ripe to begin planning what it is going to look like, who’s going to create it, and how.  Your best ideas won’t get you much if you have to cut them off at the knees because the technical components don’t come together in time.

Now, with those ideas in mind, I’m off to enjoy a barbecue and what’s left of summer!

(I'd also like to give a special thanks to Luke Maffei for his contribution to this post)

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Thanks for this info, this issue has been bugging me like crazy for the last couple of days.

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