It’s Year-End Fundraising Time — Carpe Quartam
It’s nearly 100 degrees in Nashville. That makes it difficult to accept that fall is here.
But mid-summer temperatures in October do not change the fact that, for many nonprofits, it’s the final quarter of the fiscal year. In any case, it is the quarter of the year where most gifts are made and some of the best opportunities to deepen donor relationships present themselves. (Reminder: Few donors care about your fiscal year-end and making your budget — what they care about is changing lives and saving lives.)
I’ve shared before about suggested tasks and analysis for the year-end. One thing I always highly recommend on a quarterly basis is to get out of the office. That is especially important for this quarter.
First, get out of the office to review, analyze and plan. Bring the right team members along if appropriate, but also be sure to make time for yourself and analysis of your performance.
Then, get out of the office — period! Be out of the office more than you’re in it during this last quarter. Be face to face. Make it personal. Yes, you can email, send notes, attend events, make calls, but be sure you have the right communication with the right people — especially face time with the appropriate people.
Don’t delegate or choose the wrong method of communication. For example, I serve on an advisory board that is in chaos. Most members were offended by a series of emails confirming board expectations and sharing that members who did not return a form within two weeks would become emeritus.
Not only was the tone of the message offensive to most members, but it never should have been sent. The composition of the advisory board is largely long-time leaders, friends and donors — several with significant giving capacity. A phone call inviting them to stay engaged should have been placed by the chair or the CEO (instead of inviting them to leave).
The board chair doesn’t have strong relationships with most of the members, so the call for such a sensitive question should have been made by the CEO. As a result, many board members are leaving, and their gifts will now lapse.
I’m inspired by my friends in real estate. One has the goal of meeting five new people each week. He is constantly in front of people. Real estate is transactional, not transformational like our work. However, I am sad to confess that most of my real estate friends are far better at relationship-building and being out of the office than many of my fundraising friends.
Please carpe diem — seize every day! Every day, give it the best you’ve got.
And don’t forget to carpe quartam! Seize every quarter of the year – especially this one, when most charitable gifts are made.
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.