One of the most important parts of planning for an annual fund campaign is by developing a calendar. With this calendar, you’ll be able to outline steps for when you’ll make solicitations to donors, when you’ll hold fundraising programs, or when you’ll be bringing alumni back to campus for a reunion.
Having a strategic annual fund calendar in place is the first step to reaching your annual fund goals.
As you create your annual fundraising calendar of activities, you will want to take into account your school’s traditional calendar of programs. Knowing your school community calendar will help identify potential conflicts and opportunities. Events such as school breaks, admissions programs like Open House and seasonal travel can really impact the results of your fundraising work. However, an event like graduation is an opportunity to instill a donor mentality with young alumni.
As your annual fund planning calendar begins to take shape, it’s important to remember that each month will bring an opportunity to share what makes your school special, essentially a call to action, and a chance to build upon what matters most to your school community. Fundraising campaigns set up within your overall annual giving strategy come in three forms – giving, events, and commerce. Take a look at these sample monthly recommendations and the schools that enjoyed success using them.
This year starts with the summer lull that is best spent on planning your calendar. Use the lazy days of summer to consider what donor cultivation or stewardship you can do before the back to school frenzy sets in. Pick up the phone and call your major donors to set meetings. Consider making plans for a Back to School tuition fundraiser. Before you know it, you’ll be heading into November and December - the time of year when the most money is typically raised. Whether it’s using Thanksgiving as a time to say simply “thank you” to your donors or launching your #GivingTuesday campaign – November fundraising activities can have an incredible impact on your year-end giving results.
This is the time perfect for planning and setting up your Annual Fund online giving page.
One of the year’s biggest donor engagement opportunities! Plan to start collecting registrations during the slower summer months.
Give thanks to your school community and set up a special #GivingTuesday campaign to allow your donors to do the same.
January brings a brand-new year and plenty of fundraising opportunities! It is actually noted to be the second-best time to solicit gifts in the year. While year-end giving peaks with the Dec. 31 tax-deduction deadline, data shows that the swing of year-end giving continues into January. So, go ahead and ask again!
Throughout the remaining winter months and into spring, there are plenty of smaller rewarding fundraising moments that you can seize and it’s important to get these on your calendar as well. Holidays such as Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day can be used to ask for support. Many schools organize Giving Days in March or April, which can be themed around St-Patrick’s Day or Easter.
Celebrate your Founder or choose a day special unique to your school community; or perhaps it will be the month for just plain celebrating the “love” for your school!
The perfect time to get those registrations (and sponsorship donations!) underway for your school’s annual golf tournament.
The senior class is almost ready to graduate and take their place as your newest alumni making May a great time to connect with your young alumni using a challenge – who could resist that?!
Cover photo by Bich Tran from Pexels
Caroline is the Director of Community at Boost My School. Having worked in a private K-12 school, she understands the importance of school fundraising and keeping schools sustainable for the future of generations to come. She is an advocate for education and currently has two kids in a private K-8 school.