Updated: Dec 27, 2021

Christmas is behind us and today we are officially in THE most lucrative week of the year for fundraisers!

I am amazed at the fundraisers who think that after Christmas it is all over. They believe that all of their fundraising is done for the year. So, they shut down the office, the staff gets the week off, no one answers the phone, and the next thing on the agenda is week one of 2022!

GREAT FUNDRAISERS KNOW THAT NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH. There is one day in this last week of the year that has proven year, after year, after year to be THE MOST LUCRATIVE DAY OF THE YEAR FOR FUNDRAISING.

This one day brings in more money than ANY OTHER DAY OF THE



But IF you cash in on THE most lucrative day of the year, it will be because you came into this week with a plan.

This plan to maximize the money you receive on December 31 starts on January 1! But, even working your plan from July can multiply your fruitfulness on December 31. Even a start in September can even make a difference.

Even having NO PLAN but just studying this post and hitting the week with my leadership today can make a difference.

But, doing nothing to get the money that is yours IS NOT AN OPTION!

Great fundraisers understand and have a plan to take advantage of THE most lucrative season of the year.

Great fundraisers understand and have a plan to take advantage of THE most lucrative month of the year.

Great fundraisers understand and have a plan to take advantage of THE most lucrative week of the year.

Great fundraisers understand and have a plan to take advantage of THE most lucrative day of the year.

Now, with only a few days left in our fundraising, we don't have a choice but to utilize and maximize our electronic appeals.

In this post, I will quickly go over an electronic appeal that you can send TODAY that can make a HUGE difference in the next few days.


One of the most vital things is your subject line. Your subject line for today's email is "Deadline December 31." This is important because, DEADLINES DRIVE DECISIONS.


Next, you will pay special attention to the first couple of sentences of your email. I CANNOT OVEREMPHASIZE THE IMPORTANCE OF THESE FIRST FEW SENTENCES.

These first few sentences are called the "ad" for the email. You must get to the point in these first few lines very QUICKLY. These first few lines will show up on your donor's phone when they see your email. If they see your email on their desktop or laptop, these lines will show up in their preview pane.

Listen to this: The entire case for giving should be summarized in this area. So the donor doesn't have to scroll and read the whole email to know what you are writing them about. This "ad" should tell:

  • Why they are being written to

  • That they are being asked to make a gift

  • What their gift is going to do

THIS SUMMARY "AD" IS A HALLMARK IN SUCCESSFUL EMAIL FUNDRAISING. All successful fundraisers understand this "ad." They use it in all their emails.

Do NOT FAIL TO UTILIZE THIS SUMMARY AREA SOMETIMES CALLED THE "AD" in your emails. Failing to use this "ad" will result in receiving lessmoney.

I have found that this "ad" that is straightforward and to the point is so hardfor fundraisers to do. They want to "beat around the bush" and bury these most important points later in the email.

Fundraising gold: Successful fundraisers feel comfortable getting straight to the point in fundraising appeals.

Nowhere is this more true than in your end-of-year electronic appeals.

Here is a sample first few lines:

Deadline: December 31 <Donors first name>, I am writing today to ask you to make a gift to stop the abuse of an infant by unqualified staff at a daycare center. You can help. You can shield an infant from abuse! Will you please make a year-end gift today to protect one infant from being abused at daycare?​ (from an actual email sent to me from the Beau Biden Foundation)

The first few lines of the above email clearly answers:

  • Why they are being written to

  • That they are being asked to give a gift

  • What their gift is going to do:

Important to note that we have NOT named the organization. We have NOT talked about any programs. It doesn't say, "Your gift will fund our XXXX program."

It DOES clearly talk about the result of the organization's work that the donor's gift will accomplish. Remember, clearly talk about the OUTCOMES your organization creates. (If your organization has many outcomes, pick the one that the most donors will be interested in and focus on that outcome).

Reasons To Give Today Section

This section tells why the donor's gift is needed today. Here you present evidence to your donor for why they should donate today. Pick three quick reasons that you can put in bullet points for why your donor should give a gift today. Today, I would start with COVID and its effect on your constituents (don't spend any time explaining, they already know, just mention it). Then, move to your needs...

Over the last 18 months, as families have scrambled to find childcare, daycares and early learning centers have struggled to find qualified staff. That means a record number of unqualified, unprepared people are caring for the neediest children.

Here's why your gift is needed:

Due to the pandemic, we have a $XXX, XXX budget shortfall. (Shortfalls are incredibly good for fundraising! Donors respond well to shortfalls.)

You'll love starting the new year knowing (one of your constituents) is being helped because of you. It's essential to start next year on the best financial footing possible.

Your gift will help...

These two sentences will describe the service the donor's gift will provide from your organization. Here you repeat what you said about what the gift would provide in the first line of the email.

THIS SEEMS TO BE SO HARD FOR FUNDRAISERS! The temptation is to write in something new and different. RESIST THE URGE TO ADD NEW INFORMATION. Merely repeat what was said in the first line.

Your gift will protect an infant by helping her daycare screen out unqualified people and train their staff to stop abuse.

Shared Value Paragraph

This paragraph signals to the donor that they can trust your organization and increase a gift's likelihood.

I know you care about (your constituents), and I do too.

Failure Foreshadow Paragraph

This paragraph shows what could happen if your consituents are not helped. THIS IS NOT BEING NEGATIVE. THIS IS BEING REAL. All great stories must contain the possibility for failure. WITHOUT THIS YOU WILL NOT GET THE MONEY YOU NEED.

If we fail to go into these remote areas, despair and desperation will continue to grow. The crime, divorce, and runaway rate will keep rising.

Reaffirmation paragraph

This paragraph repeats what their gift will do. Because it is repetitive, SO many fundraisers take it out, but don't!

Would you please send a year-end gift before midnight, December 31, to help (your beneficiaries)?


The letter should be from the highest-ranking person from your organization. Include the name and title underneath.

The most read part: The P.S.

The P.S. may be THE most read part of your appeal. It is here that you repeat the ask from line one again.

P.S. Please make your gift before December 31, midnight to help (your constituents).

This email should be around 200 words. Anything over 300 words means that you are trying to say too much. ​


The following is an email appeal from one of our accelerator students:

Here is another one from the Beau Biden Foundation:

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