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How to end the nonprofit fiscal year: The ultimate checklist

May 06, 2021
Here is a team following a comprehensive checklist for nonprofit fundraising at the end of the fiscal year.

For nonprofit organizations, meeting financial goals means raising enough funds to cover program expenses and overhead costs. When the end of the fiscal year approaches, it’s a good time for you to buckle down, make a to-do list, and begin checking things off for one last fundraising push.

This article will go over the steps to ending your fiscal year successfully, as well as a few last-minute fundraising campaign ideas. Let’s get started!

6 steps to successfully ending your nonprofit fiscal year

At the fiscal year-end, you’ll need to take time between campaigns to make a list of everything you need to address before the new year. Here are the six steps you should take to end your year strong:

  1. Review your fundraising plan. Check your fundraising plan to see if you’re on target. If you are, then pat yourself on the back and continue your work. If not, you may need to re-evaluate your plan for the future and improve your methods. Implement short-term fundraising strategies to reach your goals.
  2. Launch one last fundraising campaign. In your donor communications, highlight the results that achieving your goals will bring and emphasize that you’re making one last push to do as much as you can for your beneficiaries before the end of the year. With a deadline, donors may feel more compelled to act and make a donation.
  3. Consider your major donors. Review your major donor pledges to see if any major donors have promised to make gifts that they haven’t yet. You can also examine your notes from major donor meetings and conversations to see if any major donors would be open to making a gift before the fiscal year ends.
  4. Review board giving commitments. If your nonprofit has expectations that your board members give a certain amount to your nonprofit, follow up with members who have yet to donate and ensure that they fulfill their commitment.
  5. Invest any remaining funds. If you have a surplus of funds before the end of the fiscal year, try investing them. You can invest in stocks, money market funds, or other investment methods. Make sure you thoroughly research any investments and have plans for how you’ll re-invest any gains back into fulfilling your purpose.
  6. Thank all of your donors. Show your appreciation and gratitude for your donors by thanking them for a successful year in fundraising. Keep in mind that your donors are the reason why you’re able to work towards your goals, so personalize each message and share specific impacts donors’ gifts have made.

This checklist should give you an idea of what actions you should take before the end of the fiscal year. If you need help with organizing end-of-the-year fundraising campaigns, consider using software like Bonterra Donor Engagement’s Guided Fundraising solution. You can use this solution to host some of the following fundraising campaigns.

3 fundraising campaign ideas for the end of the fiscal year

Here are three campaign ideas you can use for your nonprofit’s fiscal year-end:

Online giving

Here are a few ways you can use online giving to make your appeals:

  • Write a compelling story featuring someone your nonprofit has helped.
  • Pull a segmented list of donors to target, and tailor your appeals to each segment to ensure communication is relevant to their interests.
  • Link directly to your branded donation page that reflects the same message featured in your appeal.

Since you’re in crunch time and have a limited amount of time, online giving appeals can be an effective way to earn last-minute donations. They allow you to reach a large audience quickly, providing connections to potential donors.


The power of social media combined with the ease of online giving has contributed to the rise in popularity of peer-to-peer fundraising. Host a peer-to-peer fundraiser by leveraging your network of loyal donors, supporters, staff, and board to empower them to fundraise on your behalf.

Provide your peer fundraisers with everything they need to reach out to their networks, such as email templates or key statistics they can share in social media posts. When you meet goals for your fundraising campaigns, host a celebration with your volunteer fundraisers to thank them for all their hard work.

Lapsed donors

Reach out to donors who haven’t given a gift in the past 12 months. Use your donor management system to create a list of these donors and look into their giving history. Reach out to them with an appeal message that relates to their past giving history, highlighting the impact that their gift made on your beneficiaries. Mention your fundraising goal and that you’d appreciate it if they made a gift to help secure the future of your nonprofit.

By personalizing messages and mentioning past giving history in your appeals, you can show donors that you remember them and that they are important to your nonprofit. This can reignite their interest in your nonprofit and may result in a gift.

Planning your nonprofit’s fiscal year

The best way to successfully end your fiscal year is to plan for it. Whether you’re ahead of schedule or feeling a little behind, making a to-do list and following it will put your mind at ease and help your nonprofit have a successful end to the fiscal year.

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