The Fundraiser’s 2024 Fundraising Plan for Nonprofits

The Fundraiser’s 2024 Fundraising Plan: Your Complete Calendar of Dates Nonprofits Actually Need to Know

November 30, 2023
10 minutes
A blue calendar is on a blue, pink, and purple gradient background.

525,600 minutes, 525,600 moments to come up with fundraising ideas. That’s how we measure a year here at Funraise, anyway. Sing it with us: 🎶 Seasons of funds 🎶

2024 is looming large, nonprofiteer, and we’re guessing you have a lot of planning to do. Particularly if you’re new to the nonprofit world, it can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming—how many events are 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 on the interwebs 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 comes a time to focus on what matters. So, we’re here with your go-to guide on the key fundraising dates, events, and seasons that you actually need to know.

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

This is your essential 2024 nonprofit fundraising plan.

2024 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

New Year, New Plans

When: January 2024

After a flurry of year-end activity—the meetings, the letters, the galas—it can be tempting to write off fundraising completely come January. Never fear, fundraiser—stick with your plan. Not only is giving back a popular New Year's resolution, but a lot of donors take charge of their finances in January and plan giving for the year ahead. Take the opportunity to tell past (and potential!) donors about everything you accomplished in the past year—and how they can help you accomplish your new goals going forward.

When: All Year Long!

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

Heritage and Awareness Months

When: All year long!

If you're looking for a month to match your mission, look no further! Here are the heritage and awareness months to know for 2024.

January 2024 Awareness Months

  • Poverty in America Awareness Month
  • Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

February 2024 Awareness Months

  • Black History Month

March 2024 Awareness Months

  • Women's History Month
  • Bisexual Health Awareness Month
  • Greek American Heritage Month
  • Irish American Heritage Month

April 2024 Awareness Months

  • Sexual Assault Awareness Month
  • 3/13 - 4/15: Deaf History Month
  • National Arab American Heritage Month
  • Autism Acceptance Month

May 2024 Awareness Months

  • Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
  • Jewish American Heritage Month
  • Military Appreciation Month
  • Indian Heritage Month
  • Mental Health Awareness Month

June 2024 Awareness Months

  • LGBTQ+ Pride Month
  • Caribbean American Heritage Month

July 2024 Awareness Months

  • French American Heritage Month
  • BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month
  • Disability Pride Month

August 2024 Awareness Months

  • National Dog Month
  • Immunization Awareness Month

September 2024 Awareness Months

  • National Suicide Prevention Month
  • 9/15 - 10/15: National Hispanic Heritage Month

October 2024 Awareness Months

  • LGBTQ+ History Month
  • Domestic Violence Awareness Month
  • National Anti-Bullying Month
  • Hindu Heritage Month
  • Breast Cancer Awareness Month

November 2024 Awareness Months

  • Native American and Indigenous Heritage Month
  • Movember (Changing the Face of Men's Health)
  • National Veterans and Military Families Month

December 2024 Awareness Months

  • Universal Human Rights Month

It’s a big world out there, and heritage and awareness months provide a prime opportunity to celebrate our differences by embracing our backgrounds, identities, and cultures. If a heritage or awareness month aligns with your nonprofit, uplift it all month long! Celebrate, educate, and generate some serious funds for your cause. If none of these months apply to your nonprofit, you can support the work of other nonprofits doing vital work in those community spaces!

Annual Reporting

When: First Quarter of the Fiscal Year

Once your fiscal year ends, it’s time to shout about everything your nonprofit accomplished. Don’t let the opportunity to showcase a year’s worth of impact pass without highlighting your donor, volunteer, staff, and clients’ support. Plus, saying thanks in an awesome annual report can spark continued or even recurring donations.

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.

Generosity Week (as we call it!)

When: November 23 (Thanksgiving) - November 28 (Giving Tuesday)

It’s right there in the name: Thanksgiving is all about saying thanks. And the week between Thanksgiving and Giving Tuesday is one of the most charitable weeks of the year! Don’t let the period 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 always 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 consumption culture, and while it’s not for every organization, it’s definitely a must-know date.

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.

Complete Nonprofit Fundraising Calendar for 2024

There's a lot of days to keep up with! Don't worry, busy fundraiser, we made this Complete Calendar for 2024 Fundraising just for you 😉 (And if you scroll on down, you can download a free version of this calendar!)

January 2024 Fundraising Dates for Nonprofits

  • 1/1: New Years Day
  • 1/4: World Braille Day
  • 1/13: Korean American Day
  • 1/15: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • 1/21: World Religion Day
  • 1/27: International Holocaust Remembrance Day

January Fundraising Tips

We love when nonprofits shout about their accomplishments. As donors, that’s the reason we give! So consider spending some of your fundraising budget and time building an annual report—Make it easy and impactful with The Must-Have Nonprofit Annual Report Manual.

Ready for some fresh New Year’s fundraising ideas? Raise a glass with your donors and start the year off right—no matter which New Year’s holiday you’re celebrating!

February 2024 Fundraising Dates for Nonprofits

  • 2/1: National Freedom Day
  • 2/1: World Hijab Day
  • 2/7: National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
  • 2/10: Tết
  • 2/11: International Day of Women and Girls in Science
  • 2/13: Mardi Gras
  • 2/14: Valentine’s Day
  • 2/19: President’s Day
  • 2/20: World Day of Social Justice

February Fundraising Tips

These days, it’s not just Valentine’s Day; we’ve got Galentine’s and Palentine’s (and it’s also National Organ Donor Day!) With these expansions come ways to include more folks and gather more donations.

Mardi Gras is the perfect time and theme for galas, parties, and fun. It’s also the perfect time for you to draw your donors close—and if you put on a parade, don’t forget the beads and moon pies!

March 2024 Fundraising Dates for Nonprofits

  • 3/20-3/24 National LGBTQ+ Health Awareness Week
  • 3/1: Zero Discrimination Day
  • 3/8: International Women’s Day
  • 3/10-4/9: Ramadan
  • 3/17: St. Patrick's Day
  • 3/18-3/24: Neurodiversity Celebration Week
  • 3/20: International Day of Happiness
  • 3/21: World Down Syndrome Day
  • 3/21: International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  • 3/24: American Genocide Remembrance Day
  • 3/25: Holi
  • 3/25: International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade
  • 3/31: César Chávez Day
  • 3/31: International Transgender Day of Visibility
  • 3/31: Easter

March Fundraising Tips

Spring has sprung, and it’s time to get back into the swing of fundraising. After a few months of rest (ha!), get ready to nurture some refreshing spring fundraising ideas.

During Women’s History Month, let’s forget about history, HERstory's where it's at. No gimmicks, no hooks, just acknowledgement—and donations.

April 2024 Fundraising Dates for Nonprofits

  • 4/2: World Autism Awareness Day
  • 4/7: World Health Day
  • 4/9: Equal Pay Day
  • 4/11: Day of Silence
  • 4/16: Emancipation Day
  • 4/22: Earth Day
  • 4/26: Lesbian Visibility Day

April Fundraising Tips

Take advantage of Spring Break! While many donors will go on vacation, some will stay close—and will need a fun(draising) activity to make the most of the sun.

Tax Season is upon us—appeal to donors who have received a refund and set up manageable recurring monthly donations with those who didn’t.

May 2024 Fundraising Dates for Nonprofits

  • 5/1: May Day
  • 5/5: Cinco De Mayo
  • 5/12: Mother’s Day
  • 5/12 - 5/18: National Women’s Health week
  • 5/15: International Day of Families
  • 5/17: International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, & Biphobia
  • 5/18: World AIDS Vaccine Day
  • 5/21: World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development
  • 5/22: Harvey Milk Day
  • 5/27: Memorial Day

May Fundraising Tips

Make the most of Military Appreciation Month—and honor our fallen military heroes. Show military personnel your appreciation for Memorial Day. It’s the care that counts!

Help your donors celebrate the mother figures in their lives. Run a fundraiser so people can honor their loved ones with donations to a great cause made in their name.

June 2024 Fundraising Dates for Nonprofits

  • 6/1: Global Day of Parents
  • 6/1: International Children’s Day
  • 6/2: Native American Citizenship Day
  • 6/10 - 6/16: National Men’s Health Week
  • 6/12: Loving Day
  • 6/16: Father’s Day
  • 6/18: Autistic Pride Day
  • 6/19: Juneteenth
  • 6/20: World Refugee Day
  • 6/28: National Insurance Awareness Day

June Fundraising Tips

Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year, making it perfect for extended -athon fundraisers. Keep accessiblity in mind as you plan your -athon!

From thought-provoking panels to galas awash in glitter, there’s something for everyone during LGBTQ+ Pride Month. Check in for a rainbow of creative Pride fundraising ideas.

July 2024 Fundraising Dates for Nonprofits

  • 7/4: Independence Day
  • 7/17: World Day for International Justice
  • 7/26: National Disability Independence Day
  • 7/28: Parent’s Day
  • 7/30: International Day of Friendship

July Fundraising Tips

It’s summer break! Kids are out of school and raring to go. Make parent donors your best friends with engagement for the youth in your community to stay top of mind when it’s time for those new BFFs to give.

Tie your impact with independence. 4th of July is top of mind for many Americans during the summer months—speaking to liberty and freedom can be a big motivator!

August 2024 Fundraising Dates for Nonprofits

  • 8/9: World Indigenous People’s Day
  • 8/12: International Youth Day
  • 8/19: World Humanitarian Day
  • 8/21: Senior Citizens Day
  • 8/23: International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition
  • 8/26: Women’s Equality Day

August Fundraising Tips

Go sportsball players! Many of your donors are sports fans, and summer is a hot season for sports like baseball, roller derby and Tour de France.

Summer is the perfect time to institute screen-free season! But before you set the devices down, make a push for recurring donations—supporters won’t have to worry about donating online if their donations are already set up.

September 2024 Fundraising Dates for Nonprofits

  • 9/2: Labor Day
  • 9/5: International Day of Charity
  • 9/10: World Suicide Prevention Day
  • 9/11: 9/11 Remembrance
  • 9/16: Mexican Independence Day
  • 9/21: International Day of Peace
  • 9/23: Celebrate Bisexuality Day
  • 9/24: National Voter Registration Day
  • 9/27: Native Americans Day

September Fundraising Tips

Moar Summer, pls! This time of year, people aren’t ready for the bone-chilling winds of winter, so help them dig deep—into the sands of summer!

Bring on the beer, schnitzel, and weiner dog races! Yes, it’s Oktoberfest, and yes, this is the perfect opportunity to put on an event that all of your donors will cheers. 🍻

October 2024 Fundraising Dates for Nonprofits

  • 10/1: International Day of Older Persons
  • 10/2: International Day of Non-Violence
  • 10/2-10/4: Rosh Hashanah
  • 10/4: World Smile Day
  • 10/10: World Mental Health Day
  • 10/11: National Coming Out Day
  • 10/11: International Day of the Girl Child
  • 10/11-10/12: Yom Kippur
  • 10/15: Latinx AIDS Awareness Day
  • 10/16: International Pronouns Day
  • 10/17: International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
  • 10/17: Spirit Day
  • 10/26: Intersex Awareness Day
  • 10/31: Halloween

October Fundraising Tips

Turn Halloween into a perfect 10! We love a fashion show and we also love costumes. This is your opportunity to turn your costume contest, complete with judges and scoring and prizes, into a fundraiser!

Fall into fundraising. It’s the time of year when needs grow as the thermometer drops, so reminding your donors of the coming demand for necessities is …a necessity.

November 2024 Fundraising Dates for Nonprofits

  • 11/1-11/2: Dia de los Muertos
  • 11/5: Election Day
  • 11/8: Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine (STEM) Day
  • 11/11: Veterans Day
  • 11/13: World Kindness Day
  • 11/13 - 11/19: Transgender Awareness Week
  • 11/16: International Day for Tolerance
  • 11/17: International Student’s Day
  • 11/19: International Men’s Day
  • 11/20: Transgender Day of Remembrance
  • 11/25: International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
  • 11/28: Thanksgiving
  • 11/29: Native American Heritage Day

November Fundraising Tips

Turn your attention to our country’s veterans on Veterans Day—they deserve our respect and maybe a free entry and a front-row seat at an exciting fundraiser? Don’t forget the shout outs!

Generosity Week—you can’t ignore it if you’re a nonprofit. Thanksgiving through Giving Tuesday is a donation magnet, so make the most of it.

December 2024 Fundraising Dates for Nonprofits

  • 12/1: World AIDS Day
  • 12/2: International Day for the Abolition of Slavery
  • 12/3: International Day of Persons With Disabilities
  • 12/3: National Day of Giving (Giving Tuesday)
  • 12/9: Feast of the Immaculate Conception
  • 12/10: Human Rights Day
  • 12/16-12/24: Las Posadas
  • 12/18: International Migrants Day
  • 12/25: Christmas
  • 12/25 - 1/2: Hanukkah
  • 12/26 - 1/1: Kwanzaa

December Fundraising Tips

Winter weather offers a world of fundraising opportunities—now’s your chance to make it a donation wonderland!

Your year-end push is all about community. When you offer donors the chance to warm hearts, they'll respond in kind with kindness.

Mobile phone with donation form and donation charts floating around the phone.Mobile phone with donation form and donation charts floating around the phone.Woman looking at fundraising chart with button to book a call.Yellow shapes in background with donation form in front with stylized text, build an intelligence giving experience.Sparkling star.
Download the Complete 2024 Fundraising Calendar—Free!
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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 and budget 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

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. If you need further guidance, though, no worries! We've got your roadmap to a year of fundraising success!

How to Develop a Fundraising Calendar for Nonprofits

Like many things, putting together a calendar for your whole year's fundraising campaigns can seem like a huge, almost-impossible task. But also like many things, it's not as difficult as you may think; taking it piece by piece—or day by day!—is all it takes to set up a fundraising calendar template you can use for years.

  1. Identify significant dates and seasons for your cause
  2. Rough out your campaign's key dates
  3. Walk backward to set working deadlines

1. Identify significant dates and seasons for your cause

This one is probably already all in your head... or in your strategic plan! Think about your fundraising strategy, add in your fundraising goals, and you've stumbled right on to your fundraising activities.

This may include looking at your nonprofit's fiscal year, significant seasons for your school or nature-focused org, or annual campaigns that get your donors all a-twitter.

2. Rough out your campaign's key dates

Now that you've got your seasons sorted, lay in your campaigns where they make the most sense. If your campaign hinges on Transgender Awareness Week, take a look at other bookend dates (Halloween and Election Day, and then Thanksgiving and Giving Tuesday) and set it for the timeframe that makes the most sense. 

3. Walk backward to set working deadlines

Now that you have your dates set, you can figure out your working deadlines using math. (We know! It's not our favorite, either.)

Take a look at your campaign timeline and estimate the time your marketing team and communications team will need to prepare assets such as videos, social posts, written work, images, and marketing materials for your launch date. Then move further back and add in some time padding—you'll need it!

If you have a special event planned, you'll need to factor longer lead times into your fundraising calendar template—potentially even for the following year. In order to meet those fundraising goals, long-term planning is something to consider.

How to Maintain a Fundraising Calendar for Nonprofits

As fundraisers, we have to roll with the punches—it's part of the job. Maintaining a fundraising strategy is one of the hardest things you have to do. But a little messiness is ok, so cut yourself some slack and do what you can to keep those fundraising activities up to date.

  1. Keep your fundraising calendar fresh with regular updates
  2. Break down Actions for Each department
  3. Sync up your donor segments to finished campaigns

1. Keep your fundraising calendar fresh with regular updates

Budgets change, goals change, and programs change. Remember COVID? Big ol' change. Most updates won't be that drastic, but if your event venue falls through or a major funder drops... or if you hire a superstar who delivers gorgeous work ahead of time, you'll need to make adjustments. 

Ensure that everyone on your team is alerted when your calendar is updated.

2. Break down actions for each department

As we discussed earlier, tackling a project of this size is a day-by-day task. So within each larger assignment are departmental duties and, when you drill down further, tasks for individual contributors.

As you break out the deadlines, break out the tasks as well to make it easy on your team.

3. Sync up your donor segments to finished campaigns

Just because this is a future-focused tool doesn't mean you can let go of the insights you've gained. Within your CRM, make sure that donors are tied to their activity (or lack thereof) with regard to each campaign. Future You will thank Now You next year.

Expert Fundraising Calendar Tips for Nonprofits

Here it comes, straight from the experts! Tips to make the most of your annual calendar tool that even seasoned fundraisers will appreciate.

Learn from previous years

Although they're talking about learning through automations, Allison Fine and Beth Kanter delivered this great nugget when they came on the Nonstop Nonprofit podcast. The truth is, when you're testing, you're learning and there's no greater loss than the loss of a lesson. 

"What is the impact, and how has this changed work, and how is it changing the engagement that we're having with people? [Fundraising is a] constant, you know, effort of learning and measuring and improving over time."

Don't discount the downtimes

As Katelyn Baughan told us on the Nonstop Nonprofit podcast, one of the biggest mistakes a nonprofit can make is going dark and then asking. And then going dark and then asking. And then going dark... you get the picture. Don't discount the importance of the in-between times on your donors' engagement. 

" between your fundraising campaigns, how are you elevating the [donor] experience? How are you making connections? ...look at your calendar year—what are you doing in between fundraising campaigns to keep the momentum going?"

Share the calendar with your colleagues

In her guest appearance on the Nonstop Nonprofit podcast, Nuka Solomon shared how her team works together on their strategic calendar.

"...when you have a team, they need to be able to feel empowered and own the goals. You can't be fully top-down and they have to push back and share. Everybody has a stake." 

Use the calendar as a revenue projection tool

In that same podcast episode, Nuka talks about how that annual calendar is used to set fundraising goals and budget line items—including stuff that seems unrelated, like professional development. But in true growth mode, everything needs to be considered. 

Consider a special major donors calendar

For many nonprofits, major donor outreach is way different than other types of campaigns. It can include a whole separate set of supporters, a different in-house point person, and a different type of investment in your mission. 

This doesn't have to just apply to major donor outreach, though. As Shiree Skinner told us on the Nonstop Nonprofit podcast, 

"...the beginning of a new year is an opportunity to set a new goal and accomplish it."

Instead of trying to fit it all in, layer on a calendar dedicated to one specific fundraising strategy—like major donor engagement. Shiree goes on to say,

"...if you want to start a major donor society, for example, that could be your focus for one year, you get it done and then the next year maybe you're working on the legacy society."

There you have it: everything you need to know about creating and maintaining a year-round fundraising calendar—and nothing you don’t.

Nonprofit Fundraising Calendar FAQ

How do I create a fundraiser calendar?

Creating a fundraiser calendar requires careful planning and attention to detail. Here's the quick and dirty version to git 'er dun.

  1. Plan a variety of activities throughout the year, like community events, silent auctions, and online campaigns.
  2. Gather your SMART goals and action items. Determine event dates, budget meetings, special events, and donor segments.
  3. Think long-term. How can you retail donors across online campaigns? Creating a comprehensive fundraising calendar will keep you on track.

What month is best for fundraising?

November and December are the months to focus on.

With Giving Tuesday usually landing in November, it's the perfect time to rally support for your cause. And in December, the giving spirit reaches its peak, with a whopping 30% of all annual giving happening during this month alone!

But wait, it gets even better. Did you know that 10% of that December giving happens within the last three days of the year? 

What is a fundraising plan?

Wow, taking it back to basics! A fundraising plan is your roadmap to success, outlining the strategies, goals, and actions needed to reach fundraising targets.

It's a well-thought-out timeline of fundraising activities, ensuring you stay on track to meet those deadlines. From effective communication tactics to smart marketing strategies, your plan covers it all.

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