How Much Should You Raise For Your Year-End Fundraising

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How Much Should You Raise For Your Year-End Fundraising

With Giving Tuesday approaching, it’s time to start planning your year-end fundraising campaign to take advantage of the biggest donation day of the year. By working closely with your bookkeeper and finance team, you can set and track appropriate targets, promote donor retention, and hopefully meet your goal of raising enough funds to carry out your mission next year.

The first step to creating a successful year-end fundraising plan is using information from your bookkeeper to set your objectives. You might, for example, want to establish end-of-year targets based on your organization’s growth plans, annual budget, or previous fundraising results.

Let’s take a look at all three of these strategies to determine how much your not-for-profit organization should target to raise during your year-end giving campaigns.

3 Strategies for Setting Your Year-End Fundraising Targets

1. Setting fundraising targets based on your growth plans

Raising funds to support the growth of your organization means looking at your goals for the upcoming year. Do you plan to expand your programs? Develop a reserve fund? Start a new capital project?

If your program objectives show the need to hire more staff, for example, you should:

  • Forecast the funding required
  • Build it into your budgeted expenses, and
  • Focus on raising the money needed to cover those costs

If, on the other hand, you’d also like to develop a reserve fund, you’ll need to build that into your plan. Add the new fund to your budget as a line item, and adjust your targets to accommodate the additional donation amount you’ll need to raise.

Perhaps you’ve determined your NPO is in dire need of:

  • Building renovations
  • New equipment for a specific program, or
  • Technology upgrades

You could set your year-end targets to include those undertakings as well, but it can sometimes be difficult to raise all the necessary funds for a capital project within a single fiscal year. Instead, consider breaking up your efforts across several years to make targets more manageable for your fundraising team. 

2. Setting fundraising targets based on annual budget

Some NPOs use their annual budget to help guide their year-end appeal. You can create a fundraising plan around your organization’s results to date with the help of this simple formula:

Expected expenses for the year – Expected income for the year = Year-end fundraising target

You should have a discussion with your board members, management, and senior staff members to examine your expected income from any endowment earnings, grants or major gifts. 

If, for example, your organization has an annual budget of $1.2M, and you discover you’ve already raised $750,000 from those sources, you’ll know you need to raise another $450,000 before the end of the year to meet your projected expenses. 

3. Setting fundraising targets based on historical fundraising results

If you choose to use prior fundraising results as your guide to setting targets this year, make sure you look at results from the past 3 years as opposed to just the previous year.

Your organization may have received a one-time donation or grant funding last year, for example, that you aren’t expecting to receive this year. Examining several years’ worth of results will help you establish a reliable estimate and set realistic targets for donor engagement.

At the same time, if your previous year’s plan was sufficient to cover your organization’s expenses, you can set a similar fundraising goal, knowing it’s an achievable target.

Here’s an example of how to base your fundraising targets on historical results:

  • It’s September 2020, and you’re looking at how your organization did for fundraising in 2019. You discover that, while you budgeted $1M for fundraising efforts as part of your annual budget, you only managed to raise $750,000 by the end of the fiscal year.
  • Despite not having met your target in 2019, you made the decision to budget the same $1M fundraising amount for 2020. Now, in September, you find you’ve already raised $750,000 – the same amount you raised during all of 2019.
  • With a year-end target of $1M, and several months left in the fiscal year, you know you'll just have to raise another $250,000 to meet your budgeted goal. So you create your fundraising strategy based on that figure.

Your historical results will also help you determine how much revenue you can expect to generate from potential donors through each of your main funding sources.

You can then set specific year-end fundraising targets for:

  • Email marketing
  • Individual fundraising through friends and families
  • Peer to peer fundraising
  • Fundraising through phone calls and direct mail donation forms
  • Online fundraising (including website donation pages, social media and mobile donations)
  • Corporate giving call to action campaigns

Despite the importance of tracking funds and expenses as a not-for-profit organization, we know your real passion is moving your mission forward. That’s why at Enkel, you can rely on our back-office specialists to manage your books while you maximize your fundraising efforts. Contact us to learn more.

Omar Visram
About Omar Visram
Omar Visram is the Co-founder and CEO of Enkel Backoffice Solutions Inc. Headquartered in Vancouver, Enkel provides bookkeeping, payroll, accounts payable and accounts receivable services to over 300 organizations Canada-wide.