How To Develop And Maintain Your Fundraising Calendar (Downloadable Template) | CauseVox (2023)

Seasoned fundraisers are well aware that fundraising involves a lot more than simply asking for donations.

Donor cultivation takes a whole lot of time and resources.

Managing this process can be difficult, especially if you are working on a team. It is sometimes hard to keep track of your correspondence with donors when it isn’t scheduled or, at the very least, documented. Factor in multiple touch points between donors and staff and you’ve got a recipe for disaster!

This is where a fundraising calendar comes in handy. Every organization that relies on fundraising to operate should consider incorporating a fundraising calendar into their yearly plan.

Download Your Fundraising Planning Guide and Calendar Template:

Fundraising calendars are designed to outline donor correspondence, campaign timelines, special events, benchmark dates, and other noteworthy occurrences that your fundraising team will be engaged in over the course of the year.

Here’s a breakdown of how to develop and maintain your annual fundraising calendar.

Developing a Fundraising Calendar

You’ll want to start brainstorming about your annual fundraising calendar well ahead of the beginning of your fiscal year. Many nonprofits operate on a July 1st through June 30th calendar. Others follow a January 1st through December 31st reporting year. Try to schedule a meeting roughly one month before the beginning of your fiscal year to put the calendar together.

There are a number of topics that should be addressed in this living document.

Key Dates: Hard Deadlines

Begin by looking at your entire year and jotting down key dates for events and happenings already on the books. These are considered your hard deadlines- those that will likely not change.

(Video) How to Make a Fundraising Calendar

For example, if you always run your annual giving campaign during the holiday season in November and December, mark the campaign start and end dates. Examples of major event dates include:

  • Campaign start and end dates
  • Special events such as one-day fundraising events, donor appreciation luncheons etc.
  • Board meetings and budget meeting dates

If you are new to fundraising and haven’t yet held a fundraising campaign, then this is where a bit a research will likely go a long way. There are prime times to ask for donations and other times when donors are less likely to donate.

  • Summer months are notoriously poor for general fundraising. Use this time for planning and campaign preparation.
  • Donors are most likely to give from November through January.

It is important to note that your organization may operate on an entirely different schedule, and the information above is certainly not ‘one-size-fits-all.’ Always focus on what works best for you.

Looking Deeper: Action Deadlines

Now that you’ve noted the essential events that your fundraising team will be organizing over the course of the year, it is time to delve deeper into each engagement and determine your action deadlines.

Let’s take the annual giving campaign example given above. If you generally solicit donations during the peak giving season of November and December, and you’ve determined that your start date is November 1, you should now determine a timeline for your pre-campaign steps.

Your action deadlines should include:

  • Each scheduled donor ask
  • A ‘Thank You’ schedule
  • Basic donor communication schedule (both online and offline)
    • email
    • direct mail
    • face to face interactions
    • social media
    • phone

Next, dig deep to determine any extra events of note. Here are a few sample fundraising considerations:

  • It is common practice to get 20-30% of campaign contributions in ahead of the campaign kickoff. Therefore, when will you start asking for these initial ‘upfront’ donations?
  • Will your team be mobilizing volunteers to help with the campaign? If so, when will they be trained?
  • If you are running a one-day fundraising event, when will the invites go out? Who will be organizing the event? Where will it be located?

Nonprofit fundraising calendars will undoubtedly vary from one organization to the next, so these bullets are just an example of just a few considerations that will be made when creating a complete schedule.

(Video) Create A Year's CALENDAR of EVENTS for your Organization

Work With Your Communications Team

Your organization’s fundraising calendar should match up with the marketing and communications calendar. You simply must be on the same page because your departments will be relying on one another in order to present your finished product.

Let’s say your annual fundraising campaign- your signature drive that raises a significant portion of your organization’s operating funds- is set to kickoff on November 1st. On your fundraising calendar, you’ve pinpointed the days that you will begin campaign preparations, when you’ll be training volunteers and when you aim to have your initial donations in.

Now, consider the communications that will need to be prepared ahead of time. Do you need marketing materials, pamphlets or direct mail letters? Your communications team will need to know the fundraising schedule in order to meet your deadlines.

Have a Monthly Focus

Many fundraising professionals have found that a fundraising calendar is not just good for keeping track of dates and communications. It is also a great tool to help you remember to stay in contact with those most important to your organization- your donors!

Fundraisers talk a lot about ‘friendraising.’ If you want to be a rockstar fundraiser, then it is time to incorporate friendraising into your resource development plan.

Keep the focus on ‘friendraising’ by devoting each month (or every other month) to a different donor retention strategy. Try:

  • A ‘Thank You’ phone blitz
  • A special event for long-time donors or donors at a certain giving level
  • Videos targeting donor segments (millennials, baby boomers, etc.)

Donors are the lifeblood of your operation, and focusing on retention on a regular basis keeps this in the forefront of a fundraiser’s mind.

Maintaining a Fundraising Calendar

You now know what information your fundraising calendar should include. Now, it’s time to discuss calendar maintenance.

(Video) How to Organize Your Calendar - The Ultimate Guide

It is best to keep your calendar consistent year after year. Your donors will grow to expect your annual campaign and special events to occur around the same time. Maintaining a relatively similar schedule every year makes planning easier for you and them.

Chances are you may find that something on your calendar just isn’t working for your organization. Remedy this by researching best practices of other similar nonprofits to figure out a possible solution.

While maintaining building on your fundraising calendar for years to come, it is essential that you continue to build on your donor cultivation strategies- particularly those that involve moving donors along the donor engagement ladder. Try segmenting your donors based on your relationship with them, and work at moving them up the ladder toward increased engagement with various opportunities throughout the year.

Here’s a great example of a simple fundraising calendar.

How To Develop And Maintain Your Fundraising Calendar (Downloadable Template) | CauseVox (1)

Whether you are new to the world of fundraising, are looking at incorporating some fundraising best practices, or are interested in just getting your fundraising team organized, a solid fundraising calendar should be one of your first steps. For a more detailed look at topicsthat you should consider for your fundraising calendar, check out this post from Nonprofit Tech for Good.

Remember that successful fundraising efforts are a direct result of a solid and well thought-out plan.

Your final fundraising plan is likely to change as your organization grows, and that is okay! It isn’t meant to be a static document.

You should never ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ in fundraising. You are setting yourself up for failure if you go this route. Taking the time to develop a thorough fundraising plan will pay off in dividends and help you and your fundraising team stay on-task for years to come.

(Video) Fundraising webinar: How to create (and use) your fundraising plan

Download Your Fundraising Planning Guide and Template:

This post has been updated in January 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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FAQs

How do you make a fundraiser calendar? ›

5 Steps to Creating A Fundraising Calendar
  1. Set your calendar cycle and gather key dates. ...
  2. Mark out the three big "seasons" of fundraising. ...
  3. Make a list of essential projects and fundraising needs. ...
  4. Start customizing your fundraising calendar and filling it out. ...
  5. Add communication deadlines.
22 Apr 2021

How does a calendar fundraiser work? ›

Calendar fundraisers have always been popular with nonprofit and school groups. The idea is pretty basic – assemble some great photos, have a batch of calendars printed up, and offer them for sale to your supporters.

How much can you make off a calendar fundraiser? ›

We've seen between $25-$50 per calendar work pretty well for school fundraisers!

What is the most effective and stable fundraising strategy for a nonprofit? ›

Run a Peer-to-Peer Campaign

Peer-to-peer campaigns allow nonprofits to mobilize their supporters to ask for donations on their behalf, often over social media. It's an effective strategy because it can help you reach a fundraising goal more quickly and grow your network exponentially.

Why is a fundraising plan important? ›

The study shows that nonprofits that have a fundraising plan are more likely to base their strategies on giving trends they see within their own organization with an awareness of external factors that may help or hinder their success.

Why is a fundraising strategy important? ›

Having a fundraising strategy is essential and should be developed before you start making funding applications. It will greatly enhance your chances of raising funds, and in the long run save you time and energy by having a framework in place to use and adapt for future funding applications.

How do you write a fundraising message? ›

How to Write a Compelling Fundraising Letter
  1. Tell a story. Your fundraising letter should start with a story — one that fully engages your current and potential supporters in your issue or the problem your organization is working to address. ...
  2. Define the problem. ...
  3. Present your goal. ...
  4. Ask for help. ...
  5. Be humble.

How do you write a description of a fundraiser? ›

How to Write Your GoFundMe Fundraiser Story: 12 Helpful Tips
  1. Get inspiration from great storytellers. ...
  2. Start with a personal introductory. ...
  3. Define the essential pieces of your story. ...
  4. Share the challenges you have faced. ...
  5. Emphasize the turning point that led you to start a GoFundMe. ...
  6. Form a connection with potential donors.
12 Aug 2022

How do you describe a fundraising event? ›

A fundraising event is an event designed to raise awareness and support for an organization's mission. All events can be turned into fundraising events, or an opportunity to raise money. This can include concerts, silent auctions, half marathons, neighborhood cookouts, and more.

What is the most profitable fundraising event? ›

Charity Auctions

Auctions are some of the most profitable fundraising events around. With so many amazing prizes on the line, donors won't be able to resist contributing to your cause. Plan ahead to get the best auction items and start planning your next charity event today!

What fundraisers bring in the most money? ›

You may find success with cookie dough, but be prepared to spend a big chunk of cash if you want a 50% profit margin.
  • #4. Fruit Snacks. Profit margin: 32% to 50% ...
  • #3. Scratch Cards. Profit margin: 70% to 90% ...
  • #2. Candles. Profit margin: 40% ...
  • #1. Guaranteed Profit with America's Favorite Chocolate Fundraiser.
25 Aug 2020

How does a sponsor a day fundraiser work? ›

Have people choose a calendar day to sponsor. They will donate the amount of money equal to the corresponding number (i.e. July 20 equals donating $20). Keep going until every day is sponsored (a person could technically sponsor more than one day if need be).

What are cash calendars? ›

cash calendars – graphic press. Cash calendars are a popular fundraiser with giveaways each day of a month. These are our largest ticket design with a full calendar and prize schedule on one side, and a small tear-away stub on the other to keep for the draw.

How can I sell my calendar online? ›

Where can I sell calendars online? You can sell print and digital calendars online through your Shopify website and connect your store to your social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.

How can fundraising effectiveness be improved? ›

7 Key Strategies for Effective Fundraising for Nonprofits
  1. Not Just Capital Campaigns . . . ...
  2. Provide Mobile, Text & Online Giving Options. ...
  3. Keep it Personal. ...
  4. Gratitude is the Best Attitude. ...
  5. Offer Recurring Gifts & Perpetual Membership. ...
  6. When Possible, Make Everything an Event. ...
  7. Think Bigger When it Comes to Corporate Partnership.

What are the challenges in fundraising? ›

The Challenges of Fundraising (and how to overcome them)
  • Planning. Planning a project plan and proposal takes a lot of time and effort. ...
  • Fear of rejection. It is normal to fear rejection. ...
  • Deadlines. Most NGOs seem to hate deadlines. ...
  • Ideas to words.

What is the difference between donations and fundraising? ›

Donations are often a consequence of fundraising, made by individuals and businesses because they have a connection with the charity or specific project. In addition, donations create a feel-good factor for people as they're aware that they are contributing to a worthy cause and helping to make a real difference.

What are the elements of a fundraising plan? ›

7 Elements of a Foolproof Fundraising Plan
  • Develop an engaging campaign theme. ...
  • Use data to define and predict progress. ...
  • Break down where revenue comes from and how it'll be used. ...
  • Plan to acquire new donors. ...
  • Get creative! ...
  • Have an online giving strategy. ...
  • Determine your expected costs and their ROI.
20 Nov 2019

What is a fundraising model? ›

A funding model is a methodical and institutionalized approach to building a reliable revenue base that will support an organization's core programs and services.

What is a fund development plan? ›

A fund development plan focuses on strategically positioning an organization to develop its assets, especially funds, by forming relationships with potential donors. To build such relationships, organizations require. A vision. Mission.

What are the three most important elements of a fundraising appeal? ›

Table of Contents
  • Move your donors with empathy.
  • Connect donations to donors.
  • Use a donation deadline to create a sense of urgency.
12 Jan 2021

How do I make my fundraiser go viral? ›

Drive donations with fundraiser sharing tips
  1. Create a fundraiser hashtag. ...
  2. Create a Facebook Event for your fundraiser. ...
  3. Share your fundraiser on Linkedin. ...
  4. Write your fundraiser link in an unexpected place. ...
  5. Reach out to your local media. ...
  6. Post your fundraiser on Instagram. ...
  7. Ask others to share. ...
  8. Make a Pin about it.

What are the roles and responsibilities of a fundraiser? ›

Fundraisers organize events and campaigns to raise money and other kinds of donations for an organization. They also may design promotional materials and increase awareness of an organization's work, goals, and financial needs.

How do you write campaign details? ›

Top 5 Tips for An Effective Campaign Description
  1. Tell Your Story. ...
  2. Tell It Visually. ...
  3. Impact: Tell People Why this Cause Matters. ...
  4. Make the Ask— And Say Thank You! ...
  5. Let Your Supporters Follow your Campaign's Progress.
22 Apr 2019

How do I ask my business for a donation template? ›

I'm writing to ask you to support me and my [cause/project/etc.]. Just a small donation of [amount] can help me [accomplish task/reach a goal/etc.] Your donation will go toward [describe exactly what the contribution will be used for]. [When possible, add a personal connection to tie the donor to the cause.

How do you plan a fundraising event checklist? ›

Fundraising Event Planning
  1. Form your committees. To ensure that your fundraising event runs smoothly, you'll need to divide your tasks between committees. ...
  2. Determine your goals. ...
  3. Solidify your budget. ...
  4. Choose a date and venue. ...
  5. Create a schedule. ...
  6. Recruit Sponsors.

What are the steps of the fundraising process? ›

The fundraising cycle outlines six stages to identify, engage, evaluate, solicit, recognize, and steward your donors and donor prospects. This goes hand-in-hand with the donor cultivation cycle, which focuses on building relationships with your donors.

What is another name for fundraiser? ›

synonyms for fundraiser
  • telethon.
  • bazaar.
  • appeal for funds.
  • charity event.
  • charity sale.
  • philanthropic enterprise.
  • radiothon.

What is the biggest fundraiser in the world? ›

Biggest fundraiser of all time: $44.6 million in the ongoing America's Food Fund campaign, launched by Laurene Powell Jobs and Leonardo DiCaprio. Most donations: Over 500,000 to the Official George Floyd Memorial Fund, raising $14.7 million, with an average of $29 per donation.

How do you fundraise virtually? ›

Virtual fundraisers are events held online instead of in-person. Tools for these events include online invitation and marketing tools, donation forms and pages, and streaming platforms like Airmeet, Zoom, YouTube, and Facebook Live. With these tools, you can hold a successful online event.

How do small nonprofits raise money? ›

Walkathons are the most popular choice of fundraiser by small nonprofits, because they're the easiest to plan while having a high return. Not only can you raise money through event registration, but you can also raise funds through pledges and merchandise. Walkathons can work for a lot of different situations.

How can I fundraise a large amount of money? ›

The 17 Ways
  1. Hold a fundraising event.
  2. Send a fundraising letter to your donor file.
  3. Host a walk-a-thon, dance-a-thon, or other participatory fundraising event.
  4. Write some grants.
  5. Send a fundraising e-mail to your list.
  6. Approach your top supporters to ask for individual gifts.
  7. Start a viral fundraising campaign.

What to say to support a fundraiser? ›

Dear [Donor Name], Today, I'm writing to ask you to support [cause]. By donating just [amount], you can [specific impact]. To donate, [specific action]. Thank you for joining [cause's] efforts during this [adjective] time—It's supporters like you that help us change the world every day.

How do individuals fundraise? ›

5 Fundraising Ideas for Individuals
  1. #1: Crowdfunding. Arguably, crowdfunding is one of the most popular personal fundraising methods to take. ...
  2. #2: “In lieu of” fundraising. ...
  3. #3: Bake sale. ...
  4. #4:Car wash. ...
  5. #5: Game night. ...
  6. #1: Set Goals & Tell Your Story Well. ...
  7. #2: Choose a Super Engaging Campaign. ...
  8. #3: Promote it Like No Other.

What is the best personal fundraising website? ›

12 of the Best Fundraising Sites for Nonprofits and Individuals
  • Donorbox.
  • Kickstarter.
  • GoFundMe.
  • Crowdfunder.
  • Indiegogo.
  • Patreon.
  • Facebook Fundraising.
  • PayPal.
6 Sept 2022

What are funding strategies? ›

What is a funding strategy? A funding strategy is a written and agreed plan that determines the financial requirements of an organisation or group over a length of time. Generally, a funding strategy covers a three to five year timescale and details the plans for the end of that period.

What is a fundraising model? ›

A funding model is a methodical and institutionalized approach to building a reliable revenue base that will support an organization's core programs and services.

What is a funding plan? ›

Funding Plan means a description of the sources of funding to be utilized in the implementation of a Program and Budget, the particulars of the methods of funding from such sources and estimates of when the funds will be needed.

What is a funding requirement? ›

The total funding requirement is defined as the cost that is identified in the cost baseline. It also includes the management reserves. The period funding requirement is defined as the annual and quarterly payments. Both of these funding requirements are derived from the cost baseline.

What is the funding source? ›

Funding sources are budgetary resources for programs and projects. Funding types include grants, bonds, federal or state awards, private donations, or internal money that is allocated for a company or an organization.

What is the most successful type of fundraiser? ›

Silent, live, and online auctions can be very successful fundraisers and can be incorporated into any other event or held as a stand-alone event.

What are the main types of fundraising? ›

4. Different types of fundraising
  • Capital investment. Capital campaigns are more than raising money to get a new building.
  • Crowdfunding. The digital giving marketplace is growing rapidly and can help you to raise much needed funds for your project.
  • Bid-writing skills. ...
  • Cultivating new donors. ...
  • Large donations and legacies.

What is the best type of fundraiser? ›

Charity Auctions

Auctions are some of the most profitable fundraising events around. With so many amazing prizes on the line, donors won't be able to resist contributing to your cause. Plan ahead to get the best auction items and start planning your next charity event today!

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