How to Plan to Make 2012 Your Best Year Ever
By sorting fundraising activities by audience (and yes, some activities will be under numerous audiences), you identify groups that are going to be underserved unless you go back to Step 1 and identify more points of communication for them. You may also see a group or two that will feel deluged unless you rethink your strategy.
Real-life example: One nonprofit I supported (note past tense) sent me 74 e-mails in a year — up to four a week. When I asked about it, the organization said it was a result of several departments having access to the e-mail donor list. That’s no excuse; someone ultimately should have been in charge so this kind of abuse couldn’t occur.
Step 3: Schedule completion dates
Identify the dates when your letters will drop (be put in the mailbox), your blogs will post, your e-mails will be sent, your events will occur, etc. If scheduling to the specific date seems too overwhelming, at a minimum schedule everything in the week it will complete. A direct-mail package, for example, feels much more like a real project if you know it needs to mail the second week of April rather than “sometime” in April.
Step 4: Look for the holes — in audience or timing
Review your calendar showing projects and audiences, and see if there are blocks of time when you may be neglecting a donor group. If so, add additional communications (or expand your audience for ones already identified). Your goal is for your donors to hear from you enough that they feel connected, but not so much that they feel ambushed by your nonprofit. Also, you want to give them variety in communications; boring your donors is never wise.
Step 5: Build out the schedule and make assignments
Quick, before you lose your planning momentum, create a schedule showing key due dates for every major step along the way: planning meetings, copy due, copy approval (and by whom), design due, to the printer (if a hard-copy piece), in the mail or the e-mail sent, etc.