If you haven’t already begun planning your year-end campaign—it’s time!

November and December are crucial months for all nonprofits. In fact, Nonprofit Source reports that an eye-popping 30% of charitable donations in the U.S. happen in December alone. And a third of that is given in the last three days of December.

Using data you have on hand, these six steps will kick your year-end strategy into gear and tap into the December rush.

  1. Segment your volunteers and donors. Grouping donors and volunteers lets you see at glance who they are, what they’re passionate about and their history of involvement and/or donation. This will help you send catered content (like emails and direct mail) and solicit donations on a more custom, personalized basis. Sending the same email or donation form to everyone in your database is off-putting; show donors that you’re paying attention to the causes they care about.
  2. Build a plan and calendar with milestones. Hopefully the positive energy around your year-end planning means positive ideas are also flowing. Don’t make the mistake of starting one initiative and forsaking other good ideas that you and your team cooked up while brainstorming! Creating a calendar with deadlines, tasks and goals that are spelled out clearly makes it so much easier to execute all your plans…especially when working with volunteers and their schedules.
  3. Create print and email templates specifically for your year-end campaign(s). When donors receive recurring emails or direct mail, it can be easy to tune out when everything looks the same. Try something new this holiday season to catch the attention of those who may have lost interest or become disengaged with your nonprofit for some reason.
  4. Start a year-end monthly giving promotion blitz. The spirit of giving is pretty closely tied to the holidays for most people, which explains the December rush we mentioned earlier. While people are in the “giving mood,” it’s a great time to promote monthly giving programs and turn one-time donors into regulars. Hit every marketing avenue at your disposal to reach these people, including emaildirect mail, social media, PR initiatives and anything else you can think of.
  5. Recruit and assemble an A-team for social fundraising. This team should be made up of your top donors, volunteers, influencers and advocates. The social or peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns work best with a clear-cut deadline, so the year-end deadline makes this a perfect match. These donors, volunteers and advocates are the most involved and the most passionate about your cause—who better to spearhead a fundraiser?
  6. Consider a major donor for a possible matching donation. Donation match programs are proven to increase overall revenue and response rate of a fundraising drive. Usually one of the biggest roadblocks for soliciting gifts from major donors is simply having a reason to ask. And a year-end campaign is as good of a reason as any.

No matter which approach you take, always be prepared for a high volume of thank you notes to match the high volume of donations you’re going to receive. Now go out there and crush those year-end goals.

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