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Don't Forget Grantors at Year-End!

Updated: Apr 20


While the rest of the world is emerging from summer vacations and getting back in the swing of things, it’s crunch time here at TKM. Why? Because it’s almost time for year-end fundraising!

If you haven’t started planning for year-end fundraising - including a messaging theme, appeal copy, Giving Tuesday, and mail lists - now is the time to start.

The busiest fundraising months of the year are ahead of us, and you don’t want to get caught unprepared as donors get ready to make their year-end gifts.

The highlight of year-end giving is your organization’s approach to individual donors - and rightly so. 30% of all giving happens in December, so fundraisers are right to be laser-focused on engaging donors with compelling, clear asks.

While fundraisers are working overtime to engage donors at the end of the year, it’s easy to forget about grants. December, after all, can sometimes (but not always!) be a slow time for grant applications.

Even if you have a slow period for applications, this isn’t a time to forget about your grant pipeline! Year-end is a chance to set yourself up for success in the new year and to stand above the organizations in your funders’ portfolios.

While you’re thinking about appeal letters and donor messaging, here are some things you can do to engage grantors at this crucial time of year:

  • Send them a year-end update: It’s easy to get into a pattern with grants. Submit the application, win the award, send the required reports, and repeat year after year. While those steps are important, you should see them as the bare minimum. Checking in with foundations outside of reporting and renewal times - just like you would check in with a major donor - can make all the difference. It’s a great time to celebrate all your funders have done for you and let them know that their support makes a difference.

  • Invite them for a site visit: Just like receiving a year-end update, the chance to get up close and personal with your work can move the needle. It’s a busy time of year, and some funders may politely decline, but extending the invitation can still make you stand out. And for those who do take you up on the offer, the experience can solidify your relationship and set you up for success in the next year.

  • Remember that your grantors are human: This is where it’s easiest to get tripped up when managing grants. We plug answers into a form, manage gifts through a portal, and sometimes do it all without interacting with another human. For the people evaluating grants and administering gifts, getting the “human” touch can be an extraordinary step. They believe in your work just as much as you do, and if they receive well wishes, gratitude, and updates on their support, it can be a moving experience that makes a difference for your organization. Year-end is one of the best times to do that.

If you have big grant goals for the new year, an investment in year-end cultivation will go a long way. That goes for other elements of fundraising as well! Corporate and government funders are also easy to neglect, but your Program Officers with those funds would also appreciate the same care and opportunity to share in the impact.

Just like you’re starting to plan for year-end solicitations, now is also the time to prepare for year-end stewardship for large funders. If you’re stuck and don’t know where to start, we’re here to help! Drop us a line to set up a free consultation and learn more about how Team Kat & Mouse can set your organization up for year-end success.

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