How to Plan Your Annual Appeal Fundraising Campaign

The Play’s the Thing


The Play’s the Thing, wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the King.
-William Shakespeare

End Strong: Turning Your Year-end into a Smash Hit

In this line from Hamlet, Hamlet reveals how he’ll expose his uncle’s treachery with a play. In your case, this line, “the plays the thing” shows how you can create a stellar year-end using the structure of a three-act play to organize your year end annual fund fundraising campaign.
Here’s an outline of the plan I recommend for your year-end fundraising plan using Hamlet’s design.

Get Ready: August and September

Plan, prep, and rehearse scenes. Answer: why, what, who, when, and how.

Act 1: The October Set-Up

Interest your audience in your story. Shout out what you’ve accomplished in as many vehicles as possible.

Act 2: The November Confrontation

In November, thank your donors for all that they have accomplished. At the end of the month, it’s time for the climax. Share that your excellent work can’t continue without your donor’s help.

Act 3: The December Resolution

In December, continue to share the challenge. As people respond, cheer every gift. End the year with a standing ovation for your donors.
Imagine it’s January 1, and you just closed your best calendar year ever. Your annual appeal brought in twice the amount as the previous year. Your new donors grew by over 25 percent. What’s more, the community’s buzzed-about the New Year.


For more on year-end fundraising and annual appeals:

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If you want to know even more about fundraising planning, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’d love to help you create a dynamic plan to help your nonprofit thrive, Schedule a time for a free discovery chat here. -Karen

Karen Eber Davis

Karen Eber Davis Consulting guides executive directors and CEOs to generate the resources, boards, and support they need to make remarkable progress on their missions. As the award-winning thought-leader, advisor, and founding principal of Karen Eber Davis Consulting, Karen helps nonprofit leaders get answers, generate revenue, and grow their mission. Davis is known for her innovation and practicality based on her work with or visits to over 1,000 nonprofit organizations and her experience leading board and team events. She is the author of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams and Let's Raise Nonprofit Millions Together.