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The End is Near for Your Fiscal Year: Fundraising Tips, Tactics and Messaging to Implement Today

By Marcie L. Wagner, CFRE

You may be relaxed and comfortably reaching your fundraising goal OR today you’re feeling the heat and realize you need to hustle a bit more in order to get to your goal. the_end_is_near1_newWhatever the scenario, it is always just good business to be as strategic today, as you approach June 30, as you are in racing towards December 31st. So let’s begin some fiscal year-end fundraising chatter.

While it will always be a challenge to grab your donor’s attention in May and June in the same measure as November and December – it is documented that the positive payoff will be well worth your time and perhaps a bit of investment. According to the Association of Fundraising Professionals, you can expect at least a 20% increase in donations in May and June combined if you implement a fiscal year-end fundraising strategy.

What follows is a tactic and messaging example. When messaging, pay attention to your tone, it should be urgent, timely and specific, not desperate or needy. Be clear that the solicitation is coming to them due to the approaching fiscal year-end and that it is essential to reach out to ensure that your organizations much needed services continue to thrive.

When drafting your message be confident and clear with regard to what you want, why you want it, and when you want it.

Here is an example of an e-appeal used by public radio. You will notice the following:the_end_is_near2

  1. Begins with a bold, but brief case pitch
  2. Clearly states the situation
  3. Asks strongly and directly for the contribution
  4. Builds credibility by pointing out that others have already done their part
  5. Briefly and specifically re-states it all in the P.S. (along with gift amount suggestions.)

E-APPEAL EXAMPLE

Subject: Just one weekDear friend,

What a difference WXYZ can make to your week… with news that keeps you connected… ideas that keep you interested… and conversation that brings you into the heart of the matter.

One week can mean a lot to WXYZ too – particularly this week!

That’s because just one week from today, WXYZ’s budget year ends and our goal right now is to raise $## through this email to finish strong.

If WXYZ has ever made your week, then please stand with our ## amazing supporters as we raise the critical final dollars it will take to help the programs you rely on thrive in the year to come.

(CONTRIBUTE BUTTON HERE)

You do have the power to make all the difference! Thank you!

Name
Title and proud supporter

P.S. WXYZ’s budget year ends in just one week. Your $50, $100, or $200 contribution will go far in helping to raise the final $## to support the exceptional news that you count on every day. Thank you!

the_end_is_near3_newWhether you’re writing a series of emails, an on-air spot, a fundraising pitch, or a lengthier direct mail letter, these same principles will apply to helping you maximize your fundraising response at fiscal year-end, while also maintaining strong and healthy communications with your donors.

It is worth mentioning again, never, ever use a message or tone that would convey an organizational financial crisis. If you are really sweating it to reach your goal, it is easy to come across as desperate – while it may make you feel better, and it may inspire a handful of “saviors” to take action, the largest result will be questions regarding leadership’s ability to be fiscally responsible and why did they allow the organization to get into such a negative situation. You can see how this message can easily take a donor’s mind to a place you don’t want it to go.

In closing, you all are responsible for organizations that are unique – use fundraising tactics and strategies that make sense for you. Perhaps your donors won’t respond to an e-appeal, but you know from your December year-end that they respond to direct mail with a follow up phone call. The timing of your fundraising appeals may also need to be unique. Perhaps you begin your fiscal year-end solicitations on May 1 in order to be strategic and successful.

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