Business of Art | Crafting a Year-End Fundraising Strategy
Nearly one third of all charitable donations are given in December. Create a plan to connect with your audience during this crucial time of year!
Now is the time of year when many organizations and artists are creating plans to make a final fundraising push. It’s especially important to consider year-end fundraising, as nearly one third of all annual charitable donations are given in December. This fundraising push is a crucial chance to connect with your supporters and secure vital funding, so don’t miss out! Below are some tips to help you think through structuring your campaign.
TIP 1: Create a timeline and plan that will keep you focused on a strategy.
Most planning for large campaigns begins in August, but it is not too late. Below is an example:
- August / September – What do you need to accomplish with this campaign? Identify partners to work with to accomplish your goals.
- October / November – Collect your donor list. Begin crafting an appeal letter and prepare to send via mail or email.
- December – Update donors on your progress and send reminder letters or email.
- January – Send thank you letters and enjoy the end of a successful campaign!
TIP 2: Write a compelling appeal letter that addresses the year’s achievements and your plans for the coming year.
To begin, ask yourself a few questions: What are the core values you associate with your work? What skills and abilities do you have to succeed in these efforts? What distinguishes you from other artists or organizations? What recognition have you received in the past year?
If you can answer these questions with sincerity and clarity, you are well on your way to writing a great letter. It may take you several drafts to nail down your exact language, so build in time for multiple rounds of edits. Keep an eye out for repeated language and sloppy formatting. And if you get stuck, a Google search will help you find sample letters.
TIP 3: PROOFREAD and Craft Carefully.
Always have someone else proofread the letter when you are done writing. Fresh eyes do wonders for catching small mistakes!
If you are planning to mail the letter do not forget to include a reply envelope for people to easily reconnect with your fundraiser. Also consider hand addressing envelopes or including handwritten notes on the letter to let people know you care about their support of your work personally. Always use real stamps! (But you don’t have to have stamps on the reply envelopes, donors can do that when they send their checks).
If you are planning to send your letter via email be sure to proofread your final letter on multiple devices (phone, computer, and different web browsers). You want to know how the image you have crafted loads in different spaces. Also make sure to include links you have verified to donate and add to your social media platforms. Make it easy for your supporters to find you and connect!
TIP 4: Be human. Send updates and keep in touch with your donors throughout your campaign.
Connect with supporters one-on-one when you can—people appreciate sincerity and human connections. In this season of fundraising, people are receiving a lot of solicitations for donations. A personal touch goes a long way and helps to strengthen the community around your work and fundraising efforts!
TIP 5: Send thank you notes!
At the end of your long campaign, let your supporters know how grateful you are for all that they did to help you by sending thank you notes. They are a part of your community and your appreciation goes a long way. These notes do not have to be very long. In fact the simpler, the better! The purpose is to leave your donor feeling good about their contribution.
TIP 6: Stay in touch throughout the year.
Continue to send updates and news to donors throughout the year. This can be a regular newsletter or just updates as they become available. The key is not to only contact donors when you ask them for money. You want them to feel connected to you and your work.
Use these tips to create a sustainable support system for your work!
-Anne Muntges, Program Officer, Fiscal Sponsorship
Image: Erin O’Keefe (Fellow in Photography ’19), Built Work #33, 2018, archival pigment print
This article draws tips from Crafting a Year End Giving Strategy, a presentation given by Katherine Delaney, NYFA’s Director of Development, and Kimberly Goodis, Senior Officer, Individual Giving and Special Events, in September 2019 at NYFA.
NYFA Fiscal Sponsorship’s quarterly no-fee application deadlines are December 31, March 31, June 30, and September 30. We also accept Out-of-Cycle Review applications year-round. To learn more about whether to apply to NYFA Fiscal Sponsorship as an artist project or emerging organization, read our FAQ section. Reach out to us at [email protected] for more information. Sign up for NYFA’s free bi-weekly newsletter to receive updates on future programs.