Looking Ahead to Year-End 2014
The money has been tallied, the results are in and 2013 year-end fundraising is over. Now what?
If you made your cash-flow projection for Dec. 31 — congratulations! If you didn’t quite make it, don’t despair. There’s still time to turn the corner. Because I have been in this business since the Ice Age, I know exactly how it feels to do the happy dance when those final Dec. 31 numbers come — and what it’s like when those six most dreaded words surround you in February: “We need to close the gap.”
If you’re lucky enough to be practicing for “Dancing With the Fundraising Stars,” kick off those tap shoes and check out the five things you should already be doing to make sure you retain those donors and improve income at year-end 2014:
1. Check and double check to ensure that you acknowledged everyone who gave to you during year-end.
Late is definitely better than never when it comes to thanking someone who graciously gave to your cause. And speaking of gracious, audit your acknowledgment copy for all channels and make sure that your donors feel your appreciation.
2. Meet with your donor-services team or vendor and find out what your donors said when they called to donate or complain during the holiday giving season.
How do those calls differ from other times of the year? How can you start now to put things in place to make improvements immediately and for the 2014 holiday season?
3. Which donors upgraded to the midlevel and major-donor levels? And what have you done with them?
We all know how critical timing is when it comes to handling newly upgraded folks — and the best time for newly upgraded donors to fall through the cracks is when you have a lot of them moving up the ladder at the same time. That is why I ask you to do a quick review of anyone who upgraded at year-end to a mid- or major-donor level, and follow through with the plans you have in place for handling these folks. Friendly reminders to your colleagues in major gifts about the number of new donors who came their way or a friendly request to confirm new midlevel and major-gift upgrades to your direct-response team go a long way in bridging the gap and ensuring that the people who decided to give you more in 2013 than they did in 2012 feel good about that decision long into the new year. The only thing worse than a one-hit wonder in the music business is a donor who only upgrades once. Don’t let it happen to you!