Yes, it’s the first week of June, and yes, we’re talking about your year-end fundraising appeal. It’s never to early to start planning.

For many, your year-end fundraising appeal brings in half or more of your annual fundraising revenue. So, it makes sense to start thinking about it now. Please, don’t leave your big or even small details to the last minute.

To get you thinking about the important story component of your appeal, I’ve put together a checklist for you:

Fall Fundraising Appeal Story Checklist

Choose the story for your year-end appeal1. Choose the story
Who will you highlight? Why? What do you want donors to feel when they read this story?

schedule an interview for your year-end appeal2. Schedule an interview
Use the story template from the free ebook Boring2Brilliant to interview your story candidate. Don’t forget to include how the person feels.

use a release for your year-end appeal3. Use a release form
Be sure to secure permission to use the story in multiple ways. Download a sample here.

craft three versions of your year-end appeal4. Craft at least 3 versions of your story
You’ll want a longer version for newsletter or blog use, mid-length for enews or donate page, and a short version to use on social media.

highlight the story from your year-end appeal5. Begin highlighting your story
At least 3 to 4 weeks prior to mailing your appeal you’ll want to begin using your story in your newsletter, blog, or on social media.

include the money story in your year-end appeal6. Be certain to include your “money story”
Always combine your money story with your people story. This allows your audience to understand there is more to do with more financial resources.

include your story in the year-end appeal thank yous7. Remember to use story snippets when you say thanks
Keep your story in your donor’s mind by using snippets or a quote in your thank you letter and the immediate online thank you.

include story in year-end recap8. Don’t forget to continue the story in the recap
Include any final thoughts or thanks from the person in your story in your recap once the appeal comes to a close.

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