Prepare for a Prosperous End-of-Year (Part 1)
I know it's always easy to complain, so for balance take a look at Paralyzed Veterans of America's website (www.pva.org) — I love its "Donate Now" button!
Bottom line — what are potential donors seeing when they go on your website to donate? Is it logical to them (not just to you or to your tech staff)? Ask a few non-staff members to test-drive it for you and give you honest feedback. A few tweaks now can help ensure donors find it easy to give to you online this year-end.
Review your receipting process
Are you prepared to handle a large increase in donations at year-end? Will you be able to send out a timely "thank you" that refers to the project designated by the donor? Do you have enough forms and envelopes on hand? I've seen the same donor send a gift in in early December, and then use the return envelope in the receipt to send a second gift before year-end. Does your system encourage that kind of generosity?
Now is the time to cross-train staff or recruit volunteers to help in donation processing when the workload soars. Don't wait until everyone is stressed and there's no time for training. Identify a few people now who can be called on as needed, and invest the time to prepare them so they can truly be a help at year-end.
Surprise some of your faithful mid-level donors with a thank you call
Now is a good time to call donors who have been faithfully giving throughout the year or for the past several years at year-end and say "thank you." That's all — just "thank you." These can be fun calls to make because the donor is clearly waiting for the "ask" and you get to surprise him or her by never asking.
Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.