The song says “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Well I say it’s the least creative. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

I love new thinking, out-there ideas and catchy copy. But year-end tends to be pretty straight forward. So I’ve compiled six of the least creative ideas you should be thinking about as you plan for year-end.

  • Ask when people are giving. Non profits raise a lion share of their revenue in Q4, most of it in December and most of it during the last week of the year. If there is a time to be aggressive with your asks, this is it! Cultivate now by sharing impact reports, featuring stories from the field or launching advocacy campaigns that matter. But ask in December and ask a lot! 
  • Prepare for news distractions on REALLY BIG DAYS like Giving Tuesday and December 31st. You can’t control the news cycle. Things like impeachment, disasters and other media moments can derail big days quickly. Spend some time thinking through how can you make your organization relevant in case of a huge event on one of your highest yield days without crossing the “ambulance chaser” line. A little pre-prep can go a long way in case of emergency.
  • Ensure your website is a donation magnet. During year-end make sure you have a ton of real estate dedicated to fundraising across your website. Donors will be coming to your site looking for an easy way to give. Make it clear. Make it compelling. Make it easy.
  • Make sure your email file is healthy and clean. Email still raises a big percent of online revenue. Make sure you don’t make any deliverability mistakes that will flag you and prevent you from getting into people’s inboxes on especially important days. I am no deliverability expert. But someone working for you should be. Get their expertise right away.
  • Don’t stray from messaging and stories that work. You might be bored of the same old messaging and stories, but I can assure you that your donors are not. When you get tired of your messages and stories, your donors are just beginning to notice them. If you are unsure, test it.
  • Thank your donors. Make sure that everyone who gives to the campaign is thanked promptly and warmly. If someone gives early in the campaign, suppress them from most follow up asks, but keep them in the mix with a mid-campaign report back, some cultivations and a couple asks for additional one-time gifts that acknowledge they have donated previously.

It might be the least creative time of year, but it sure is the most lucrative! Happy Fundraising!

If you have additional “least creative” ideas, share them in comments.