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The New Year is here and you and your fundraising team are ready to get back to work. But did you finish all of your paperwork, decompress with your staff, take out all of your old year’s trash so you can start the New Year clean with fresh fundraising ideas and initiatives? Use this fundraising checklist to make sure you don’t miss a thing! (Click here for more about planning for the new year.)


old year clean-up checklist



Go through the mail:

• Did we process all donation checks in the mail? Yes/No
• Did we read all of our emails and follow-up? Yes/No
• Did we answer all voicemails? Yes/No

“Thank you” acknowledgments:

• Did we send out a thank you letter for all gifts received at the end of the year? Yes/No
• Did we call our major gift donors and thank them personally? Yes/No

Track and follow up with usual donors:

• Did we note who did not give this year that gave last year? Yes/No
• Did we put all of them on a list for follow-up with an upcoming appeal or a personal call? Yes/No


Have a meeting or a conference call at the beginning of January with your grant writing team to discuss:

• December deadlines: did we get all proposals, attachments, and reports into funders? Yes/No
– If no, assign action tasks to specific team members to make calls to see if you can submit additional support letters, etc.

• January deadline submission statuses:
– What are our upcoming deadlines?
– Who is responsible for each action step?
– Are there barriers to meeting deadlines?
– Are there any new opportunities?

Volunteer “Thank Yous”

Did we get a chance to thank all of our volunteers for their help at our end of year events and first quarter program activities? Yes/No

If December was too busy:

• Have a picnic or potluck thank you in January. You can pair your event with Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service!

• Send out a small gift or a simple thank you card to all of your volunteers or any new ones that helped after your holiday cards went out in December.

• Highlight a particularly fantastic volunteer on your website or newsletter and thank all volunteers in an article.

Budget Status/Quarterly Update

Prepare your end of year or first quarter fundraising report and organizational budget status. Compare the numbers to the past two or three years. Are you growing annually at 3% or more? Yes/No

• If you have growth, great! Focus on the strengths and potential growth areas next year.

• If you went down, figure out why. Compare these elements with prior years:
– Organizational capacity: Staffing and volunteer strength.
– Solicitation strategies: Letters vs. calls, etc.
– Cultivation measures throughout the year.
– National and regional giving statistics: These are published by Foundation Center, USA Giving, etc.
– Board and volunteer involvement: Are they helping you fundraise?


Evaluate your end of year success, plan, and processes with an open-ended discussion amongst the development team.

• Did we meet our goals? Were they too high or too low?
• Did we have enough staff and volunteers to meet our goals?
• What fundraising initiatives worked best in the first quarter to solicit end of year gifts?
• Did we properly cultivate our faithful donor base?
• How can we improve next year?

Plan for Spring Events

Spring fundraising brainstorming or preliminary planning:

• Set dates, themes, and fundraising goals for spring and summer events.
• With what partners can we work this year?
• What events were most successful last year, measuring success by cost return?
• What should we post on our blog, our website, our Facebook, our newsletter, etc. to communicate our events to supporters and new prospects?

Have a team-wide meeting of your non-profit to:

• Align calendars for the next quarter.
– Do all staff members know when fundraising activities will take place?
– Do all staff members know when grant deadlines are?
– Do all staff members know which donors they should help cultivate?

• Coordinate program activity funding needs with fundraising strategies. Ask every staff member:
– What two activities do you have planned for the next few months that particularly make our mission shine?
– What are your 2 top funding needs that are not being met by our budget limitations?

For more checklists, click here.

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