Your Fundraising Calendar for 2014

It’s planning time for 2014!

Here’s a strategic guide to help you get the highest return for your fundraising effort.

And, as Donald Trump says,

“If you’re going to be thinking, you might as well think big.”

Here’s a calendar that will nudge you to keep you on your toes so you can stay ahead of the game.

13871918_sJanuary — It’s Thank You Time

I hope you received a flood of gifts in December and particularly at year’s end.

It’s time to thank, thank, and thank your year-end donors again and again.

So go overboard and show your donors some love.

  • Create a welcome package for new donors and extend a special personal greeting to them.
  • Invite them to a special party or tour.
  • Send them a special newsletter.
  • Have someone your organization serves write them an appreciative note.

Find out how to create a killer thank you letter here.

You can get some terrific guidance on thanking and RETAINING your donors here. 

11746210_sFebruary — It’s Major Donor Month

It’s time to add some firepower to your major donor efforts.

Set a firm goal for how many major donor visits you will accomplish each month.

Don’t let anything stop you from making these visits—they’re absolutely essential.

This month, recommit to getting out of the office for:

  • Thank you visits
  • Advice visits
  • “I’d love to hear your story” visits
  • “I’d love to share our latest project” visits
  • “I want your opinion and feedback” visits
  • “Can you help us with some prospect strategies?” visits

You can get guidance and advice from THE major gifts experts this year here.

11238099_sMarch — Social Media Time

I bet your cause could get a whole lot more out of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

Don’t forget that people are social creatures.

This month, assemble and empower a group of smart young people who will help you drive the social media conversation for your organization.

  • Be sure your cause has interesting things to say and share online.
  • Ask questions of your supporters online.
  • Seek their input online.
  • Rally the troops, ask for help, drum up volunteers — all online through social media.

12298389_sApril – Is Overhaul Your Messaging Month

Just how snappy are your messages about your cause?

Are they interesting? Imaginative? Full of energy?

Remember it’s the story that evokes an emotional connection—not statistics!

  • Create a tone that’s casual and friendly.
  • Find a story or a theme to use all year.
  • Create a metaphor that is delightful and charming.
  • Use an icon or picture that exemplifies your metaphor.

You can get some help from two of the world’s top donor communications pros – Kivi Leroux Miller of and Nancy Schwartz of the Getting Attention! blog.

They’ll be presenting their latest strategies for us in April.

12952972_sMay — It’s Party Time!

May is time to take stock of your fundraising events.

Lay out the numbers. Figure in the costs of staff time and resources.

Remember that you can raise much more with fewer events.

The real money in events comes from sponsorships. And they take time to develop and close.

If you are packing too many events into a year, you’ll never have time to plan far enough ahead to secure major sponsorships.

Plan to join us for our virtual Telesummit on Fundraising Events in May!  We’ll have the top experts on hand to help you raise the most from your events.

5841891_sJune – It’s Retreat-Planning Time

Time to pull your board together for a one-day retreat.

  • Conduct a board self-assessment. Are your board members happy with their experiences on the board?
  • Tackle the most important strategic issues facing your organization. How are you going to deal with them?
  • Get your board members fired-up to help in fundraising.

Downtime outside of a formal meeting gives your board members a chance to socialize with each other and get to know each other.

Social time helps knit them into a more cohesive group of team members. And that’s what you want!

If you need to plan a killer board retreat - let me know – I can help you!

3863286_sJuly — It’s Planning Time

If your fiscal year ended on June 30, you are probably catching your breath.

It’s time to create a great fundraising plan.

How did your fundraising go this past fiscal year?

Evaluate everything—your special events, your staff, your board’s participation, every single fundraising strategy.

It’s time to set new goals for the year. If you plan for fundraising increases, spell out exactly how you’ll make those goals.

We’ve got two of the leading experts on fundraising planning – Peter Drury and former AFP Chairman Andrea McManus working with us on metrics and strategy this July!

16042340_sAugust — Focus on Planned Gifts

To many nonprofits, organizing a planned giving program seems daunting and complex.

Planned giving doesn’t have to be complicated:

1. First, identify people who are your best estate giving prospects—they are your longtime donors who give consistently year after year.

2. Then plan to send them a note twice a year promoting an estate gift.

3. Get rid of all the jargon and simply chat with them about the idea of leaving a bequest.

Take a simple step-by-step approach to planned giving.

12179119_sSeptember – Year-end Fundraising Time!

You’re entering major fundraising season—the year end.

If you are like most nonprofits, you’ll raise most of your funding during the last quarter of the year.

Lay out a step-by-step year-end fundraising plan.

  • First warm up your donors for the ask. Try starting with a “thankathon.”
  • Then lay out a multi-channel fundraising effort – using direct mail, phone follow-ups, email.
  • Use the exact same message over and over in each medium.
  • And lay out a sequence of appeals that reminds your donors over and over how much they care about your cause.

I’ll be presenting the 2014 Year-End Fundraising Telesummit this year with the great Mal Warwick, Ted Hart and other industry gurus -so plan to join us!

October – Pull Out the Stops with Face-to-Face 11188279_sAsks

Don’t forget to include face-to-face asks in your year-end strategy.

Select some donors and map out a plan to see all of them during the year-end fundraising season.

Call out the troops; put your board members and key volunteers to work.

This strategy alone can put you over the top of your goal.

Plan to join us the first week of April with the first ever virtual Telesummit on “Asking,” for tips from the masters.

We even have the big kahuna himself, Roger Craver of The Agitator Blog keynoting for us! :)

4451919_sNovember -Time to Tweak Your Web Site

Now’s the time get ready for that tidal wave of online gifts.

According to Network for Good, 40% of online donors make their gifts in December, and 40-60% of those donors will give on Dec. 30 or 31.

Be sure your donation page is easy to use.

Add a Web page that says, “Your gifts at work”—with a pie chart of your revenue sources and how you use the money.

Post your overhead percentage—that’s what today’s wary donors want to see, because they are less trusting than in the past.

12195670_sDecember – Show Everybody Some Love!

This month will probably find you busy with your year-end appeals, parties, and gifts to honor donors.

So this month focus on appreciating everybody!

Send holiday wishes to your wonderful donors who help make your work possible.

Take time out to thank your board members for all they do for the cause.

And be sure you thank the staff.

Remember it’s the small thank yous and appreciations that make staffers feel appreciated. They’ll reward you with loyalty and even better performance!


Be thoughtful and strategic with your time and energy.

That means planning ahead!

If you haven’t already – do check out our brand new line up of webinars for you this year – I’ve put together some of the top consultants and speakers in our industry to help you raise tons and tons more money in 2014!

If you are already a member of the INSIDERS, you’ll get all this for your membership subscription!

If you are not an INSIDER and you want to join, you can get 25% off during our January Membership Promotion for the next two weeks. Find out more about the INSIDERS here.   

Cheers, and here’s to your having a totally fabulous year in 2014!

  • neesha

    wow, Gail, this is really cool! (best of all, it’s simple to follow).