6 Simple Steps to Supercharge Your Year-End Giving, Campaign-Style

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Click here to read on Capital Campaign Toolkit.

by Amy Eisenstein

One of the reasons capital campaigns help organizations raise enormous amounts of money (often 10 times normal fundraising revenue) is that there is specific strategy baked into campaign plans.

Much of the strategy which is critical to successful capital campaigns can be applied to everyday, annual fundraising. And there’s no better time to apply campaign principles to your fundraising than in time for year-end giving.

In addition to your regular year-end strategies, which likely include a direct mail and social media strategy, we recommend you design a special “mini campaign” targeted at your major donors designed to raise an additional $100K or more.

6 Campaign-Style Steps to Supercharge Year-End Giving

Here are six Steps to supercharge your fundraising between now and year-end using campaign-style fundraising to raise seriously big gifts.


Although you probably need to raise unrestricted operating support, fundraising is more effective when you can be specific. Identify one specific objective (or set of objectives) which will help offset your overall budget.

Some examples of year-end mini-campaign objectives from our clients include:

  • Vet to staff animal shelter ($150K)
  • Literacy volunteer coordinator (100K)
  • Hosting one traveling artist series ($125K)
  • After school programming for 50 students ($180k)


The case for support doesn’t need to be a fancy brochure (and shouldn’t be). Your case for support simply needs to articulate why donors should care and give to this particular effort.

Answer these three questions:

  1. Why this project? (What difference will it make — what’s the impact?)
  2. Why our organization? (Why are you suited to run this program?)
  3. Why now? (What’s the urgency?)


Determine how many gifts are required and at what levels you will need to be successful using a gift range chart. Start with the top gift at 20% of your campaign goal.

For example, for a $100K goal:

1 gift @ $20K ($20K raised — 20% of goal)
3 gifts @ $10K ($50K raised — 50% of goal)
5 gifts @ $5K ($75K raised — 75% of goal)
6 gifts @ $2.5K ($90k raised — 90% of goal)
10 gifts @ $500 (100K raised — 100%!)

This is a total of 25 gifts. Notice the first 15 gifts will get you to 90% of your goal.


For your year-end min-campaign, you’re not soliciting new donors — you’re asking your largest and most loyal donors.

You’ll want to identify approximately 50 most likely prospective donors (about 2 prospective donors for each gift you need to succeed). They are going to come from your current pool of committed donors.

Overwhelmed? Don’t Worry… We’ve Got You Covered

If these steps are starting to feel difficult or overwhelming, take a breath — we’re here to help. The Capital Campaign Toolkit offers a Mini-Campaign Boot Camp, during which campaign experts teach you the entire strategy over the course of 8 weeks, through a step-by-step guided process:

Mini-Campaign Boot Camp »

Get your questions answered and find the support and encouragement you need to make your mini-campaign an incredible success!


Prepare to ask for gifts in a personal, one-on-one way (virtually or in-person). Since you’ll be asking your best current donors, you’ll want to ask them for their regular annual fund gift, as well as a special, one-time gift for this mini-campaign.

According to the gift range chart, the first ten gifts could get you to 80% of your goal. Plan to ask for these special gifts in November and you will coast into December feeling great!


Your stewardship this year needs to be extra special. You’ve asked for gifts in a personal and meaningful way and you want to acknowledge those gifts and those donors in a way that stands out.

Aim to surprise and delight your donors by going the extra mile. Drop something meaningful on their doorstep. Send a personalized video. Engage clients and board members to help with thanking this year.

Although you may already be doing some of these things, putting them together in a targeted campaign brings new meaning and energy to the effort.

Raise More Money Year After Year

Following these six steps to boost your annual fund is a lot like practicing for a full-on capital campaign. Best of all, the money you’ll raise while “practicing” is very real — and could be very significant. After all, for most organizations, $100K (or more) would be game-changing.

With that in mind, if you want to learn this skill set inside and out so you can apply these principles year after year, check out our Mini-Campaign program. You’ll learn by doing and raise $100K+ in just 8 weeks. How’s that for year-end giving?

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