It’s the time of year for a final checklist! As the year comes to a close, a lot of businesses and nonprofit organizations look at what to finalize as we all move towards the new year. For most nonprofits the end of the calendar year is the half-way mark for the fiscal year, so – apart from holiday cards – what should nonprofits do this December? Here’s your end-of-year checklist:

__ Thank donors

Thanking donors is obvious but often overlooked with the chaos during the holiday season. It’s important to utilize a variety of channels to thank donors: emails, hand-written notes, holiday cards, social media, video posts, phone calls. No matter which method(s) used, be sure to keep it personal; use appropriate names and titles, thank for specific dollar amounts or frequency given, follow up on the project their funds contributed to. Donors like to see where their funds go and like to feel appreciated. This step on the checklist is a must! Here are 10 ways to thank everyone who helps further your mission.

__ Evaluate performance

Whether it’s the end of your fiscal year or halfway, it’s a good time to stop and reflect. How do things from this year compare to the previous year? Are certain initiatives new? What is questionable? What is working that you will continue in the new year? If it’s halfway, are you on track to hit your goals? Write down these notes and be as specific as possible, including data, donor observations, thoughts from the team, opinions from the board, and personal reactions. Recording thoughts and emotions are just as important as recording the data, so that come next year, you have the full picture to look back on.

__ Process outstanding donations or payments

If you work with GiveSmart, head to your Admin page > Users > Checkout > Search by ‘Yet to Pay’. Then, you can view any outstanding payments or donations. Go ahead and give that donor a call, or charge the credit card on file. If you don’t work with GiveSmart check your donation and ticketing portals, cash boxes from events, staff who may have held donor checks, and perhaps leftover auction items that still need to be collected and paid for.

__ Organize folders – physical and digital

It’s time to file away the year! Pack away physical copies of documents, meeting minutes, marketing materials, binders, etc., and create a folder on your shared drive. Move all content related to the year into this folder to help clear space and start anew with a blank slate. Overwhelmed with what happened to your documents and folders on your desktop? Build your folders now and develop a naming system for documents to be used by everyone in the organization to keep things clean and consistent.

__ Ask for gifts!

Lastly, it’s not too late to ask for gifts! There’s no doubt December is a big giving month (33% of giving happens in December), so when you ask, be specific about the amount and the project. Tell donors that $20 this December will help you reach your goal to fully fund school supplies for next year. Strapped for time? Push out a final text-to-donate campaign and enable donors to give in seconds, right from their cell phones. A specific project will go a long way, so share why you are collecting end of the year funds to motivate donors to give.

Kelsey Woodworth
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