There is so much information on year-end fundraising out there right now. And, let’s face it, so many of us are tired. Ready to stop.

But if you run a nonprofit or run nonprofit fundraising, this is not the time to take two weeks off.

Here’s the advice I gave subscribers to my weekly coaching email Fundraising Kick.

Fundraising Kick: Closing 2020 Successfully

Good morning, Kickers!

Including today, we have 11 days left in 2020. Not to be overdramatic, but these could be the 11 most important days for your nonprofit fundraising.

In non-pandemic years, more gifts come in in these last few days of December than at any other time of the year.

I expect that to be even more true this year.

2020 has seen incredible hardships. Loss. Inequity. Division. Pain. And tragedy.

And 2020 has seen the undiminishing generosity of donors. Many of the nonprofits I work with have seen fundraising results double and triple this year.

Each time we thought, “Surely, this month we’ll reach the cliff, the end of donor generosity,” donors proved us wrong.

And they will in the next 11 days too.

If. We. Ask.

Clearly. And repeatedly.

3 Reminders for Finishing for Strong Year-end Fundraising

Here are three reminders:

  1. Tell a story. If you want donations, don’t “educate” donors about your nonprofit. Tell a story of one person/animal/acre of land your donor can help impact. Not your donor can help your nonprofit impact. But one person your donor can help impact. And ask them to give a specific amount of money to make that impact.
  2. Make your 5 – 10 calls, your last fundraising letter, you emails, your social media posts about that one story. Donors are busy. Like the rest of us, they need to hear a story repeated over and over in order before taking action.
  3. Review all your lists
    • Look for those who gave last year but not yet this year. Ask them to consider giving a specific dollar amount before December 31st.
    • Look for those who’ve given for a few years but not in 2019 or 2020. Ask them to give a specific amount before December 31st.
    • And look through your lists for people who’d pledged to make a gift, or make an installment on a gift, in 2020. Call them to see if they’d still consider doing that. You might say something like:
      “Hi [name]. This is [your name] from [your org]. Last year, you’d asked us to remind you about a [specific dollar amount] gift toward your pledge. 2020 has been a weird year for many of us. I was calling to see if you were still [able to/considering/thinking] of making that pledge before December 31.”

    Be kind. Smile. Be compassionate. Who knows, they may be having a hard time right now. But also be clear with the amount. And the December 31st date. And as often as possible, be human. Understanding. Appreciative.

Doing these three things will help you finish out 2020 strong. If you’re a fundraiser, these aren’t days to coast. You might choose to take vacation and celebrate holidays. But be available to people wanting to give. Change your voicemails to let donors know where to catch you. Or what hours you’re available.

I typically say that if you run a nonprofit or are a nonprofit fundraiser, these are not the two weeks for full-week vacations. Take those in January or February.

Don’t hide when donors are looking. And even with all the hardships, they are looking.

In fact, they are probably looking because of all the hardships. They know your cause and mission is needed now more than ever. So be available to let them.

You’ve been Kicked,


P.S. Why not take time today to go to your organization’s website home page and make a gift. Take notes on the process and see if there are any simple fixes you can implement to make it even easier for donors to give.

I’m not advocating a “hustle” methodology. A model were “more” is never enough. We do need to take a break. To rest.

We can do that with long weekends. But if you run a nonprofit or a fundraising office, these are not the two full weeks to take.

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