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The Fundraiser’s 2022 Fundraising Plan: Dates Nonprofits Actually Need to Know

January 24, 2022
10 minutes

525,600 minutes, 525,600 moments to come up with fundraising ideas. That’s how we measure a year here at Funraise, anyway.

It’s 2022, nonprofiteer, and we’re guessing you have a lot of planning to do. Particularly if you’re new to the nonprofit world, it can feel a bit overwhelming at times—how many events is too many? What dates do you need to remember? Do you have to acknowledge National Wiggle Your Toes Day, or is it okay to take a pass?

There are soooooo many lists out there with fundraising ideas for every season and every reason. And many of them are great—heck, we’ve written a bunch ourselves! But with a new year beginning, you need to focus in on what really matters. So, we’re here with your go-to guide on the key fundraising dates, events, and seasons that you actually need to know.

Oh, and one more thing: we were inspired to write this guide by the good folks at Zapier, who have an excellent 2022 marketing calendar. It gave us lots of inspiration, and if you need some marketing guidance, you might want to hop over there for a bit.

Soon, you’ll find that a little bit of planning goes a long way in the world of fundraising.

This is your essential 2022 nonprofit fundraising plan

2022 Must-Know Fundraising Dates

There are a few must-know events, dates, and seasons that every fundraiser needs to keep in mind. Mark your calendars with the dates below now and give yourself time to be excited about the work you're doing instead of crushed by last-minute planning.

  1. New Year, New Plans
  2. Heritage Months
  3. The Summer Slowdown
  4. Giving Tuesday and the Holiday Season
  5. Year-End Appeals

1. New Year, New Plans

When: January

After a flurry of year-end activity—the meetings, the letters, the galas—it can be tempting to write off fundraising in January. But we’d advise you to stick with it. Not only is giving back a popular resolution, but a lot of donors take charge of their finances in January and plan their giving for the year ahead. Take the opportunity to tell them about everything you accomplished in the past year—and how they can help you accomplish lots more going forward.

When: All year long!

As Fakequity notes, "Many different cultures and religions follow different calendars which has their year starting at different times of the year." Check out their amazing list of New Year observances that spans the entire western calendar!

2. Heritage Months

When

  • February: Black History Month
  • March: Women's History Month
  • April: Arab American Heritage Month
  • May: Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Jewish American Heritage Month
  • June: LGBTQ+ Pride Month
  • July: Disability Pride Month
  • September 15–October 15: Hispanic Heritage Month
  • October: National Disability Employment Awareness Month
  • November: Native American Heritage Month
  • December: Universal Human Rights Month

It’s a big world out there, and heritage months provide a prime opportunity to celebrate our diversity by embracing the distinctive cultures of different ethnic and marginalized groups. If a heritage month aligns with your cause, embrace it all month long! Celebrate, educate, and—most of all—fundraise. During other months, or if none of these apply to you, don't stop supporting these folks or your fellow nonprofits doing vital work.

3. The Summer Slowdown

When: July and August

Summertime, and the living is easy …except for nonprofits, because things are pretty darn slow and there aren’t a ton of fundraising opportunities! But you can plan ahead for the warmer months by—you guessed it—having a strategy. Use this valuable time to cultivate your donor relationships, catch up on admin work, or tackle any website updates that are long past due. This is a rare opportunity to get ahead.

4. Thanksgiving and Giving Tuesday

When: November 24 (Thanksgiving)-November 29 (Giving Tuesday)

It’s right there in the name: Thanksgiving is all about saying thanks. Don’t let the day pass without thanking your network of donors, volunteers, staff, and clients for their support. Plus, saying thanks on Thanksgiving can spark more gifts on Giving Tuesday, which falls on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. In case you didn’t know, Giving Tuesday is a day to celebrate giving back in the midst of so much consumption, and while it’s not for every organization, it’s definitely a must-know date.

5. Year-end appeals

When: End of December

Did you know that New Year’s Eve is usually the biggest online fundraising day of the year? That’s because December 31st is also the last day to get a tax deduction for that year—and, let’s be honest, a lot of us tend to procrastinate. Between tax breaks and the holiday spirit, nearly one-third of all giving happens during December, and those final few days are super important to your fundraising efforts. So if you want to see that year-end spike in giving, keep on reminding your donors that giving back isn’t a New Year’s resolution—it’s a must-do-pronto.

Major Holidays and Occasions for Fundraisers to Remember

In addition to the dates above, your 2022 plan should keep in mind federal and regional holidays. There are so many more, depending on culture, religion, and region, and values, so you may find it valuable to take a look at a list like Fakequity's 2022 Culturally Significant Dates.

January 2022

January 1: New Year’s Day

January 17: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

February 2022

February 1: Lunar New Year

February 1: National Freedom Day

February 13: Super Bowl Sunday

February 14: Valentine’s Day

February 21: President’s Day

March 2022

March 1: Mardi Gras

March 8: International Women's Day

March 17: St. Patrick’s Day

April 2022

April 2-May 2: Ramadan

April 15-23: Passover

April 17: Easter

April 22: Earth Day

May 2022

May 5: Cinco de Mayo

May 8: Mother’s Day

May 30: Memorial Day

June 2022

June 19: Father’s Day

June 19: Juneteenth

July 2022

July 4: Independence Day

September 2022

September 5: Labor Day

September 25-27: Rosh Hashanah

October 2022

October 4-5 Yom Kippur

October 10: Indigenous People’s Day (Columbus Day)

October 24: Diwali

October 31: Halloween

November 2022

November 1-2: Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)

November 11: Veterans Day

November 24: Thanksgiving

November 25: Native American Heritage Day

December 2022

December 18-26: Hanukkah

December 25: Christmas

December 26-January 1: Kwanzaa

December 31: New Year’s Eve

January 2023

January 1: New Year’s Day

January 16: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

January 22: Lunar New Year

February 2023

February 1: National Freedom Day

February 5: Super Bowl Sunday

February 14: Valentine’s Day

February 20: President’s Day

February 21: Mardi Gras

Important Nonprofit-Specific Dates to Remember

Finally, there are a number of dates specific to your nonprofit that you need to keep top of mind when planning your year. These are dates that are probably non-negotiable, so you’ll want to get them on your calendar ASAP. Doing so will help shape your strategy in the year ahead.

  1. Board meetings
  2. Key fundraising events
  3. Newsletter emails/mailings
  4. End of fiscal year
  5. Major appeals
  6. Quiet periods

Board meetings

Whether board meetings are monthly or quarterly, in person or online, get those dates on the calendar—and make sure your board chair is on board.

Key fundraising events

You’ve probably got an annual gala or gift drive that everyone knows to expect. Write those down now so that you can communicate well in advance and, if needed, secure sponsors.

Newsletter emails/mailings

If you have a newsletter, matching the publication date to crucial fundraising dates will really up your impact (read: secure more fundraising dollars). Another bonus: you can avoid writing and sending a newsletter during your busiest weeks.

End of fiscal year

Many organizations end their fiscal year on June 30th. Whatever date your fiscal year ends, circle it in bright pink marker right away—it’ll keep your fundraising and budgeting efforts on track.

Major appeals

Experience has taught us that major appeals require all the communication, so you want to plan early. Depending on the size of your nonprofit, you might do two major appeals or several smaller ones. Whatever your style, you’ll need to give your board members a heads up, segment those lists, write those social media posts, and get those mailings out the door. Also, if you want to take the path most traveled by, we suggest a spring appeal and a year-end one.

Quiet periods

It may sound like we’re speaking a foreign language, but after getting all those holidays, events, seasons, and dates down, you may spot a few lulls in the calendar. Take full advantage of those by doing some database maintenance, polishing your templates, and catching up on anything else that you haven’t had a chance to catch up on. Or maybe just schedule some well-deserved vacation.

And there you have it: everything you need to know and nothing you don’t. Whether you’re new to the nonprofit world or are an expert juggling a hundred jobs at once at your nonprofit, we hope this guide breaks it down. Fundraising is doable, friend, and we have faith that you've got it in the bag.

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