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4 questions to answer before planning your year-end appeal

Posted July 12, 2023 by Virginia Davidson

year-end appeal questions to answer

Your organization’s year-end appeal is an important opportunity to raise funds for your mission. Before you focus on details for your next year-end appeal, though, make sure you can answer “Yes” to these questions from last year’s appeal. That way, you’ll be well positioned to launch a successful year-end appeal in the months ahead.

4 questions to answer before planning your year-end appeal

1: Have all your donors been thanked?

If some of last year’s year-end gifts fell through the cracks in terms of gift acknowledgments, rectify that now. And, review your acknowledgment process to ensure you won’t miss any this year.

2: Have last year’s donors heard from your organization recently?

When was the last time your donors heard from your organization? If you haven’t engaged with donors since you sent a thank-you letter for their gift to last year’s appeal, they may not feel connected to your organization. If this is the case, you need to prioritize communications. Put together an update thanking them again for their support. Share clear examples of what their gift has made possible so far this year. Make sure your donors feel appreciated and informed so they’ll be inspired to contribute to your upcoming year-end appeal.

3: Do you know how much you raised in your last year-end appeal, and how much you’ll need to raise this year?

These are both crucial pieces of information that you’ll need to know in order to plan an effective appeal this year. Consider how much money your organization raised in your last year-end appeal. Compare that total to last year’s goal. Then dig further into the details. How many constituents did you solicit in your appeal? How many responded to your request with a gift? Determine the percentage of solicited constituents who made a gift in response to your appeal.

Use this information as you consider this year’s goal. Is your goal feasible based on last year’s performance? How many constituents will you be soliciting this year? Based on last year’s response rate, how much money can you expect to raise?

4: Do you have any ideas for this year’s appeal letter?

Take time now to jot any ideas or phrases down so you aren’t faced with an entirely blank page when you’re ready to draft your year-end appeal letter. If you don’t have any ideas, talk to program staff, review newsletters from recent months, or scroll through your organization’s social media posts to get inspired. Make a list of some key moments or highlights that you could incorporate into your solicitation. For more inspiration, check out Sandy Rees’ Foolproof Fundraising Letter Template for Small Nonprofits.


Once you can confidently answer “Yes” to those questions, you’ll have the foundation you need to plan a successful year-end appeal for this year. Looking for more guidance? Check out our free guide to managing appeals in Little Green Light.  

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