It’s the most wonderful time of the year …

It’s the always anticipated, and never ready for, Fall season.  The time of year for pumpkin-spiced everything, the emergence of holiday decorations way too soon and, of course, the busiest time of year for fundraisers.

In the commotion of getting year-end planning underway, it can be overwhelming to remember all the details that will help optimize the amount of money that can be raised during this important time of year.

For that reason, we have created a short checklist that might be helpful in your planning.  Take a look …


Holistic Message Planning:

  • Is there a consistent theme across channels – including mail and online? This year especially, is that theme relevant with the current environment?
  • Is there a deadline included in the campaign and is that prominently displayed across communications?
  • Are there any special, cross-channel strategies that should be considered as a potential addition to bolster revenue (on #GivingTuesday, etc.)
  • Are there relevant planned giving materials linked on the website? Does the timing of this information align with the rest of the year-end campaigns?
    • Is there estate planning/will information that should be delivered as part of the year-end strategy? Has the timing of this communication been factored into the timing of the rest of the year-end campaigns to ensure the most effective cadence?
  • Does your paid media strategy support your campaign?
  • Is there a lightbox recommended, and is creative streamlined?
    • When will the lightbox go live and does it align with direct mail in-home dates? You should see a spike in web traffic after a direct mail drop so take advantage of this time if you can!


Timing is Everything:

  • Is the timing of digital compatible with mail campaigns, if relevant?
  • Have you checked your anticipated in-home dates for direct mail packages and accounted for potential slow delivery to ensure nothing arrives too close to the end of the year/you aren’t cutting off your year-end returns?
  • Have you established what your media budget will be and how that will align with when special campaigns are launching across channels/there may be more website traffic?
  • Have you coordinated across your organization to ensure that social messaging is optimized to support both communications and fundraising efforts? Tip: Save those last few days of the year for development!


Audience Selection:

  • Have once-a-year donors and other special audiences (like sustainers) been considered for inclusion?
  • Are you doing anything special for donors who haven’t made a gift since last year’s year-end campaign?
  • Are there lapsed audiences, or other low net revenue generating names that should be considered for inclusion because of a potential seasonal lift?


Don’t forget the details!

  • Is there a whitemail code on the return envelope?
  • Is there a specific URL included driving donors to a dedicated year-end landing page?
  • Can donors easily find ways to give throughout your campaign (i.e. phone/mail/URL/Donor Advised Fund)?
  • Is there any special coding/attribution rule that needs to be conveyed to the team, or other partners, to ensure accurate results?


A list makes everything better, right?  We’re sure that, like us, you’re in the midst of crossing every T and dotting every I to make this the most successful year-end yet so we hope you find this helpful, and if we can help, let us know! We would love to hear from you!  Happy planning!




Written by:     Courtney Lewis


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12355 Sunrise Valley Dr, Suite 240 Reston, VA 20191

Candice Briddell

Candice Briddell, Managing Partner and Co-Owner, has worked within the fundraising and marketing industry for nearly twenty years and has been a part of the MINDset team for over a decade. Prior to that, she was integral in the retention marketing program at AOL.