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10 Tips for Fiscal Year End Fundraising

May 2021 - READ IN 5 MINUTES

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May of 2021. It has since been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Every year, we’re focused on supporting schools in this final stretch before the fiscal year ends. We take this role seriously, making sure that our busy partner schools have the resources, support, and inspiration they need to reach their fiscal year goals.

While your fiscal year may come to a close on June 30th, it’s unlikely that deadline will resonate with your donors. The strongest giving days, volunteer outreach, and campaign strategies find ways to make giving feel immediate, relevant, and purposeful—and happen to bring those gifts in before FYE.

Here are 10 communications strategies you may want to test in the final weeks of your fiscal year.

1. Choose a theme or purpose

Most of your donors don’t have the same fiscal year deadline seared in their brains as you and your fundraising team. When you choose the name of your giving day, the subject lines for your emails, or the theme of your week-long campaign, think about what content will bring your community together and remind them of the impact your institution makes.

Here are some previews of the ways our partner schools have used GC Social Fundraising to showcase specific, meaningful campaign themes:

2. Find emotional ties—graduation is a great one

A timely event that most donors can relate to is graduation. Share photos, montages, and livestream feeds of graduation speakers before, during, or after the event. Graduation shows your community coming together with a familiar ritual that reminds alumni of their time on campus and a milestone that still matters to them.

3. Layer in a second ask

Donors who have already given during this fiscal year may very well be willing to give again before the end of June. You don’t need to exclude these donors during your FYE campaign, especially if you communicate how much their previous gift has already made an impact.

4. Solicit LYBUNTs with a targeted FYE appeal

A robust LYBUNT retention strategy is key to maintaining and growing your donor base—and FYE is a great time to reach out to those folks who haven’t given yet with targeted “last chance” messaging. Using the new Smart Appeals Anniversary function on the GiveCampus platform you can easily view lists of donors who are up for renewal this month and next—and you can see which donors have recently lapsed. GiveCampus generates an appeal list for you based on a donor’s most recent gift and, in just a few clicks, allows you to send hyper-personalized solicitations en masse to encourage FYE renewals.

5. Make room for fun

As we get closer to FYE, remember that many folks are likely gearing up for summer and dreaming about downtime. It may be crunch time for you, but many of your constituents are thinking ahead to summer fun so why not lean in to it with with light-hearted messaging. There’s plenty of room to get corny, ask advocates to make silly content, and embrace what makes your community vibrant, diverse, quirky, and energized. Give donors the gift of feel-good content: Remind them of the benefits of belonging to a community like yours.

6. Give people a way to engage with each other—even beyond giving

Show faces and incorporate voices into your emails, campaign pages, and video content. Ask your audience to share posts or send messages to their peers or students. Participation of all kinds is a great way to “show, not just tell” the value of your community.

7. Be thoughtful about communicating your goal

Watching the ‘thermometer’ or ‘progress bar’ move closer and closer towards a campaign goal in real time can be one of the most exciting elements of a campaign on the GiveCampus platform. Be sure to make giving joyful for everyone in your community by letting them know any gift on their part has an equal impact on the goal.

8. Focus on the thank-you messaging

We know that thank-you messages for volunteers and donors are a standard part of any campaign—and schools feel grateful for all kinds of support, including gifts and overall engagement. We recommend taking the time to customize your FYE stewardship communications for advocates, volunteers, and donors—not only for their specific actions, but for being part of an inclusive community. (Have you used a video thank-you page before? We recommend GC Video!)

9. Offer donors an incentive

We’re always impressed by the incentives that schools weave into their social fundraising campaigns (a built-in feature on GiveCampus). We’ve seen schools offer phone calls from beloved faculty members, temporary naming rights to favorite campus spots, and all kinds of branded SWAG for donors and advocates alike. This clever FYE campaign rewarded donors who made a gift of $35 or more with a limited-edition 150th Anniversary journal—a meaningful way to cap off a milestone year.

10. Consider the gift that keeps on giving—long after FYE is in the books

A whopping 85 percent of fundraising initiatives on GiveCampus offer a recurring giving option. It makes sense: recurring gifts provide a consistent source of revenue and require far less legwork in the long run. Plus, the most popular times of the year to set up annual recurring gifts are in June at FYE and in December at CYE. If you’re not already offering donors this option, now’s the perfect time. 

Boost your FYE fundraising efforts with GiveCampus

If you’re looking to boost to your FYE giving campaigns, or just want to get a jump start on planning for next year, register now for our monthly drop-in demo. The first Thursday of every month we host a quick, 30-minute walkthrough of the GiveCampus platform. It’s a great way to see what’s new in online giving (like Smart Appeals!) and get ideas for how you can raise more dollars from more donors with less effort.

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