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December 19, 2023 | Categories DonorPerfect Fundraising Software, Featured, Nonprofit News

How to plan a year of successful fundraising in 2024

Cracking open a fresh calendar is such a good feeling – nothing but clean space and possibilities for a bright future! Spending an hour or two on mindful planning now can set you up for success in the year to come. Here are five tips to create a roadmap for a successful year of fundraising: 

1. Conduct a big-picture review of the past year

No need to get too granular here, but it may help to do a sweep of your work calendar to see where you spent your time, and if you want to try anything different this year. Could your hour-long meetings be reduced to 30 or even 15 minute holds? Could some of your weekly meetings be rescheduled to bi-weekly or monthly? 

It’s also a good time to assess your annually recurring activities, particularly events and donor recognition programs. Are you hosting the same, expensive gala year after year with dwindling results? Consider shaking it up this year and swapping it for something fresh, like an un-gala, to include more of your community by removing barriers to entry like cost and dress code. 

Want a hand on analyzing your calendar or getting ideas for fresh new events? Try using Artificial Intelligence! Get the free guide, AI for Nonprofits, to learn how.

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Do you find yourself stuck on a donor recognition wall treadmill every year? Pulling precise lists of donors’ names and exact giving levels is doable with clean data, but often becomes a stressful process that involves numerous stakeholders and expensive printing options. What if, this year, you celebrated all of your volunteers by writing a feature about them for your local paper? There are lots of creative ways to showcase the power of giving beyond the traditional donor recognition wall. 

2. Start with immovable dates

Are there events, meetings, or deadlines that you can use as anchor points throughout the year? Add these to your calendar first so you can plan around them. Your future self will be grateful when you don’t have a board meeting the same week that your annual appeal is due to the printer! Some possibilities may include:

  • Board meetings
  • Large events and celebrations 
  • Grant reporting and application deadlines
  • National holidays and days of recognition 
  • Federal holidays and closures 
  • Giving Tuesday and other local days of giving 
  • Staff birthdays and anniversaries 

With the 2024 Fundraising Calendar, national holidays, and key dates are included for you!

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3. Work backwards with your communications plan

Add the dates you’d like your appeals to hit homes and email send dates. From there, you can create deadlines for yourself, giving ample time to start drafting, get feedback from all relevant stakeholders, and add any design elements. 

For a multichannel mass communications plan, consider adding related material for each of the following media: 

  • Direct mail
  • Email
  • Social media
  • Ads (print and online)
  • Radio spots
  • Billboards

Whether you plan for monthly, quarterly, or another regular appeal schedule, using a multichannel approach will keep you at the top of your supporters’ minds for whenever they’re ready to give.

Approach your communications like a marketing professional by creating personas for your donor community with Your Data Driven Persona Checklist

Donor Persona Checklist

4. Include time for professional development and rest 

Restorative time is vital for staving off burnout, and you and your team deserve regular time to learn, grow, and recuperate. As a wise warning label says, “If you don’t schedule time for maintenance, your equipment will schedule it for you.” Humans can’t run on full capacity 100% of the time! 

Rather than wait until you’re feeling overwhelmed to take a break, try adding time away to your calendar and give yourself something to look forward to. Your team will benefit from being able to plan ahead for staff absences, too. 

While every nonprofit has a unique schedule, summer is a great time for many organizations to focus on team building and professional development. In the hybrid workplace era, there are plenty of free digital conferences, webinars, and other resources you can use to stay on top of industry trends and connect with fellow nonprofit professionals to share ideas and swap stories from the road. 

Check out past videos and join in the free, annual DonorPerfect Community Conference.

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5. Pick a theme or focus for each month, or let us pick for you! 

There are so many topics worth exploring in the nonprofit sector, and making time to learn is key to staying on top of industry trends and best practices. Rather than trying to cram as much new information as you can into one conference or day of learning, consider giving each month a theme this year and make some time to read articles, attend a webinar, or otherwise discover something new that will help your fundraising practice grow. 

The 2024 Fundraising Calendar comes equipped with best practices, monthly themes, and fundraising tips to keep you inspired throughout the year. Each month provides an opportunity to focus and hone in on a particular fundraising strategy. Here’s a list of this year’s themes:

  • Secure the second gift
  • Steward your monthly givers
  • Build an online donation form that inspires
  • Host inclusive and effective events
  • Empower your ambassadors with user-friendly crowdfunding campaigns
  • Engage your supporters (and lurkers!) on social media
  • Reach your donors through a multichannel communications strategy
  • Feel confident and ready to make the ask
  • Use an authentic, compelling voice in your appeals
  • Get ahead of year-end fundraising 
  • Delight your donors with your digital giving experience
  • Celebrate yourself!

Whether you’re interested in goal setting, strategic planning, giving your monthly giving program a boost, or other fundraising topics in the coming year, DonorPerfect has you covered. We can’t wait to see what you accomplish in the coming year! 

Get your free 2024 Fundraising Calendar now!

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Meet the author: Emily Zacek

Emily Zacek joined the DonorPerfect team as a copywriter in January, 2022. She graduated from the University of Michigan in 2014 with degrees in flute performance and organizational studies, and her undergraduate thesis focused on labor activity trends in American arts nonprofits. She brings a...

Learn more about Emily Zacek
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