'Tis the Season to Think about 'The Season'
I received an e-mail the other day offering me "Christmas in July" savings. Odd timing, since I had been thinking about the year-end myself. Because, let's face it — as fundraisers, the end of the calendar year is never far from our minds since that's make-it-or-break-it time for most of our organizations (and for some careers, too, but that's an article for another day).
So, just when you thought it was safe to think about relaxing on the beach with a glass of iced tea and a good novel, allow me to interrupt your blissful thinking with this announcement: There are only 166 days until the year 2014. And what you do over the next several weeks does matter. So here are some things to ponder as you watch the sun slip below the horizon from a comfy chair in your favorite spot for relaxing.
Figure out a plan for maximizing income
I'm not suggesting you prepare yet another spreadsheet showing scenarios with response rates and average gift predictions. Instead, put on your creative director hat. What can you do to communicate your organization's distinctives — and needs — in ways that truly engage your donors and interested prospects?
What worked last year? What didn't? What is worth repeating? Doing more of? Not doing again? Did your year-end e-mail produce well? If so, should you send out more? (Several e-mails in December, including multiple ones between Christmas and New Year's Eve, isn't unusual — and can give your income a big boost.)
Take a look at what others did, too. What e-mails and mail did you get last year-end that stood out enough to you that you set them aside for future reference? Ask yourself why you found them compelling. And don't forget to check out what the "big boys" did, too; you may not have their budgets, but you can often adapt some of their ideas to your budget.
Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.