I love the fall. I enjoy the cooler days, the changing leaves, and finally being able to wear sweaters and boots again! To me fall is a time of preparation – for the winter, for the holidays, and for end of year fundraising. Many organizations bring in more money at the end of the year than any other time. It’s important to be prepared.

The first, and I feel most important step, is to check your attitude about end of year fundraising. Do you feel like it’s annoying because you have more to do? Do you feel like it’s the same message year after year? Do you feel like you’re running around with your hand out? Do you feel like you’re begging? If so, it’s time to change your tune! Start your end of year fundraising with a positive mindset and an attitude of abundance. There is plenty to go around.

Look at the end of the year as a chance to tell your donors about the amazing impact they made this year (because they gave to your organization). Make them the star. In fact, do this before you ask them for money again. Make sure they feel appreciated and tell them their gift mattered.

Here are some things I recommend:
Think ahead and make a plan so you know what deadlines are coming up and won’t have the end of year sneak up on you
Thank your donors for their previous gift before you ask again, and thank your major donors in a personal way
Make it personal with stories and information about a specific person who was impacted this year by your organization because of your donors
Make it easy by giving donors multiple ways to give – mail, web site, social media, newsletter, in person
Ask in person when possible, especially with your major donors
Get some help from so you don’t have to do everything alone – can your board members, development committee, or other volunteers make some asks or add a personal note to some letters?
Prioritize how you spend your time; if it can’t all happen then spend time on the things that will have the greatest impact
Say thank you AGAIN and do so promptly and without asking for another gift

It’s time to prepare – what will you get started on today? Remember that positive attitude. Your donors want to make an impact and your organization is helping them to do just that.