Nonprofit Year-End Checklist: 8 Important Things to Do Before the Start of the New Year
We know, we know.
Is it actually time to start thinking about the end of the year (and the beginning of the new one)?
It seems like it comes up on us quicker every year, right? Well, to keep your organization free from the dreaded end of year overwhelm, we’ve come up with a nonprofit year-end checklist!
Use this to make sure you get your most important items ready for the new year ahead!
Why is a Nonprofit Year-End Checklist Important?
The end of the year tends to be hectic for nonprofit organizations. From an influx of end of year donations, to preparing annual reports, to allowing time for a healthy work-life balance, there is so much to be done.
That’s why having a nonprofit year-end checklist is so important! Nonprofit teams can stay organized with what they need to do so they can hit the ground running in the new year, without feeling overloaded at the end of the current one.
8 Important Things to Mark Off Your Nonprofit Year End Checklist (Based on Department):
While this isn’t an exhaustive list of everything that needs to be done (because every organization is different!), it can definitely get you started with some of the most important elements to mark off.
Your Nonprofit’s Marketing Department:
1. Review Analytics Reports from Major Marketing Channels
The end of the year is the perfect time to review how well your marketing efforts paid off. Pull analytics reports from all of the major marketing channels you have. That includes:
- Organic social media accounts
- Paid social ads
- Email marketing platforms
- Google Analytics from your nonprofit’s website
- Google Ad Grants analytics
- Direct mail analytics
The goal with these reports is to better understand what worked for your nonprofit the past year and what didn’t or what needs improvement.
And reading through the reports will show your team where they can devote more of their time and energy. For example, if the reports are showing that your audience engages 25% more with your email marketing campaigns than your direct mail campaigns, then next year you can tailor your strategy to reflect that.
In the end, your organization can save time, energy, and money by marking this one off of the nonprofit year-end checklist.
2. Determine New Goals for Marketing Efforts in the New Year
Because nonprofit marketing, whether it’s digital or otherwise, is constantly evolving, it’s always a great idea to revisit goals for the new year.
This is the time to re-strategize if you need to based on your analytics reports. It’s time to determine a strategy for a new marketing tool the department plans to use in the new year.
Get ahead of the curve by developing strategies and goals now, so you can start on the right foot come January.
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Your Nonprofit’s Fundraising Department:
3. Pull Reports on the Top Performing Fundraising Efforts
Similar to the analytics reports for the marketing department, the fundraising department should do the same thing.
This will help your teams understand what’s working and what’s not working when it comes to fundraising methods.
For example, should your nonprofit double down on recurring donations as that was the number one method of obtaining donations from the previous year? And did peer-to-peer fundraising not do as well as you thought it would for your organization?
The best way to go about this is to pull the reports and sit down as a team to determine the improved fundraising plan for next year.
4. Thank Donors for Their Support
While your nonprofit may be expressing gratitude for donors throughout the year, the end of the year is especially important to acknowledge them.
Not only do nonprofits typically see an influx of donations at the end of the year (which means more thank you notes!), it’s also a time when the fundraising department can see the broad picture.
After pulling annual fundraising reports, your team can get an overview of just how amazing your donors and supporters were (and are!) throughout the year.
And that’s grounds to thank your donors one more time!
If you can, this is a great time to make your nonprofit’s year-end thank you even grander.
A great way to do that is by putting together a montage video of people from each department, from volunteers and staff, and maybe even from people in the community you’re serving to say thank you!
Curious about how to use more gratitude to forge stronger relationships with your donors? Check out this top-rated training bundle at CharityHowTo!
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5. Survey Donors About New Methods of Fundraising
As you gear up for fundraising for the new year, your team may consider adding new methods of obtaining those donations.
For example, maybe in the upcoming year, your team wants to focus heavily on hosting hybrid fundraising events. Maybe your team wants to try out text-to-give fundraising, peer-to-peer fundraising, or even crowdfunding.
No matter what you want to do, it’s important to make sure your audience is receptive to the idea. Because without their support, the new fundraising efforts may fall flat.
So, for your nonprofit year-end checklist, create a nonprofit survey to send out to your audience. Ask them to fill it out as honestly as they can. Include questions about whether or not they’d be interested in donating in these new ways.
Then, sit down as a team and review the answers together. When you review the reports, be sure to listen to what your supporters have to say!
Your Nonprofit’s Accounting Department:
6. File IRS Form 990
If your nonprofit’s fiscal year ends on December 31, then your IRS Form 990 is usually due in May. We know that’s a long way out, but the end of the year is a great time to start gathering the information your organization needs to stay on top of it.
While everyone else is in year-end review, the accounting department can go ahead and start preparing for form filings, too! That way, everything regarding the current year is fresh in the mind.
7. Prepare Next Year’s Budgets
Before January 1st, departments need to have their budgets approved so they don’t overstep. Throughout the end of the current year, work with each department head to determine necessary budgets for the new year.
8. Process Any Miscellaneous Donations
And finally on the nonprofit year-end checklist, review and process any miscellaneous donations or pending gifts that haven’t cleared in the accounting software. Doing so will keep everything organized for the end of the nonprofit fiscal year!
As we mentioned, this isn’t an exhaustive nonprofit year-end checklist because we understand that every organization is different and has different needs.
But, this list can help the majority of nonprofits end the year on an excellent note! And that makes it much easier to start fresh in the new year.