For nonprofit fundraisers, the end of the year is a critical time for raising funds. As we all know, people are most generous during the holiday season.

We need to put a lot of time and effort into our outreach efforts during this time of year to maximize our fundraising results. Not only that, but we also want to solidify donor relationships and build a strong foundation for effective nurturing next year.

Another important consideration this year is the tax law changes which could potentially diminish someone’s interest in a tax deduction. These changes make it increasingly important that we nurture relationships and provide a very compelling reason to give to our charity.

Here are some guidelines as you plan your year-end fundraising:

Keep next year’s goals in mind

To form a clear plan for your end-of-year campaign, think about what you want to accomplish in the next year and inspire your donors to make those goals happen! Provide the big vision and invite them to be part of that vision with their time, talent, and finances.

Share stories

There’s nothing more impactful than hearing the stories of real people that have been helped by your organization. Share real life stories that are believable, authentic and personal to touch your donors’ hearts and form a meaningful connection to your organization’s mission.

As one fundraiser stated:

By profiling individual humans who are at the center of what we do, we are able to shine a light on how the donations are being used to positively impact the lives of many.

Have a content strategy

Having a strategic marketing and fundraising plan is core to your success. Don’t simply fill up the calendar with emails that have no theme or continuity; instead, create a thematic calendar with a well-planned email, website, and social media plan in place. You need to approach your fundraising with a master plan:

Identify your year-end campaign messages that will engage supporters with your mission. Finalize production and editorial schedules, then approve copy and design elements and campaign details. Kick off the campaign with direct mail, emails and articles with donation asks. Lastly, communicate and learn: Analyze the end-of-year campaign to improve results and predict growth.

Demonstrate the impact of small gifts

For a mom just struggling to buy her kids Christmas presents, giving $500 is incomprehensible. But $15 or $25 can be doable. Make sure your donors know that small gifts can still have a big impact. Yes, you want to maximize your holiday fundraising, but you also want to present ask amounts that are appropriate for each donor’s giving history and passion for your charity. Refine how you ask and how much you ask of the donor to formulate a personalized ask approach.

Get personal

Don’t forget to be hands-on with your best donors and prospects. Invite them to a dinner reception, visit them in person, write holiday cards, pick up the phone and wish them a happy holiday. The possibilities are limitless, and it is vital to reach out and give your best effort with your constituents.