3 Steps to Year-End Fundraising Success
At the risk of sounding like a nag, it's only about two months until the most important six weeks of the year for the majority of fundraisers. Year-end giving can determine if a nonprofit organization succeeds or barely limps into the new year, and it can make or break a fundraiser's career — or at least, his or her current position.
It goes without saying that the fundraising opportunities at the end of the year, if squandered, can never be redeemed. So taking some time in the latter half of September for planning for success is not a luxury — it's essential to survival (yours and your organization's).
Here's my three-step plan for fundraising success for the end of the year.
1. Set up a schedule
Review it every day. Take action every day. Schedules, no matter how brilliantly conceived they are, do no good in a file folder or even posted on your wall. They only work if they are adhered to constantly and remain living, active "marching orders" by which you plan your day and weeks.
Imperative to developing a schedule that actually is used are two things:
- How much time does each player require to do his or her part? If your executive director insists on having five days to review a 100-word email, schedule five days. Failure to do so will just derail your schedule and possibly your momentum for year-end fundraising.
- Decide what you have to do at a very minimum. Planning to do everything seems to result in doing very little well. Stop jumping on every bandwagon that comes along; fundraising really is about tortoises, not hares.
That doesn't excuse laziness. I am not suggesting ignoring viable options. Rather, weigh the potential of each, and plan your investment of time and money based on the expected return on investment. For example, should you participate in Giving Tuesday (Dec. 2)? This is a growing movement; in fact, I heard from Ewan Hastings from the Eric Liddell Centre in Scotland that the U.K. is importing this relatively new phenomenon this year.
Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.