How to Plan to Make 2012 Your Best Year Ever
Too often, planning is relegated to the “when I’ve finished everything else” pile. We’re too busy raising money for today or tomorrow to plan what we need to do next week, next month — or even next year — to cover those as-yet-unseen needs.
End results? Last-minute stress, less-than-perfect outcomes and lost opportunities.
This first week of January, resolve to make things different in 2012. Maybe you can’t stop everything and take hours for planning, but try to take a few minutes to read this article and apply these steps over the next few weeks.
Step 1: Identify everything you need and want to do
Although unexpected things come up (natural disasters that affect our work, challenge grants, etc.), a lot of our fundraising year can — and should — be determined in advance. Consider the cycles in your nonprofit — times when your needs expand or natural times to appeal for support (i.e., back-to-school for a nonprofit that provides tutoring) — as well as holiday times when giving tends to surge.
List everything you should do to take advantage of those peak times (and the not-so-peak times between them). Direct mail, e-mail, newsletter, e-news, blogs, events, newspaper ads, online advertising, telemarketing, major-donor mailings, and on and on.
Finally, before moving on to Step 2, set goals for each activity on your list. Separate the fundraising from the “friend-raising” events. You may choose to do some things that won’t really raise money; that’s fine, as long as you (and the rest of your organization) have correct expectations for the results.
Step 2: Sort these 'to-do’s' by audience
Depending on your nonprofit, you are (or should be) receiving income from a mix of individuals, foundations, corporations, churches, community groups, etc. Some of those may be finer-tuned, such as major individual donors, middle-level individual donors, event-attending individual donors and monthly support individual donors.
Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.