Prepare for a Prosperous End-of-Year (Part 2)
Last week I suggested three things to do now to help your organization prepare for an avalanche of year-end donations. These included reviewing your website with a critical eye to make sure it communicates well with the uninformed potential donor (not just to insiders); reviewing your receipting process and taking any necessary steps to facilitate processing an increased volume of donations in a timely manner; and investing in goodwill with your faithful donors, making sure they know how much you appreciate them.
Now that Jan. 1 is just 109 days away, there are a few more things you can do to make sure there's nothing between your organization and a year-end gift from your supporters.
Plan your appeal schedule for the rest of the year
Maybe you have a terrific schedule and you're clicking right along. Maybe you have a pretty good schedule but you've fallen behind. Or maybe you're more into "spontaneous communication."
If you're in one of the last two categories, now is the time to look at the schedule (or scratch one out on a napkin) and ask yourself what is really, truly feasible between now and Dec.31. If you're behind, don't panic - just cancel the least important communications and, starting today, be on schedule for the critical ones that will generate year-end gifts. It's more important to get the e-appeal out in late December than to try to catch up on the late August one that never came together.
Decide what the message is that you want your donors to hear. What will you tell them that will make your organization's offer stand out from all the others? And don't forget to be realistic. It's far better to get two mailings and three e-mails out between now and Dec. 31 than to have an elaborate plan for strategic multichannel communication that never gets out of the starting gate.