What should we be focused on to generate success during this time?

People are making their final contributions to charities and we need to figure out how to get on their list! People are also overwhelmed with enjoying this time of year so how do we get their attention?

Our brain skips into overdrive and runs through all the things we did or didn’t do: newsletter updates, an annual fundraiser, volunteer appreciation events, a fall ASK letter to generate an end of year giving, a Christmas wish list posted, donation acknowledgment letters sent.

So, it’s now September 27th and we have 4 days until the 4th quarter, and only 92 days to end the year with the bang.

There are lots of things you could do, so let me just share how I am spending the next few months with some local development directors and executive directors:

1.  Reviewing our donor database and printing off lists so we can divide and conquer through personal phone calls and in-person visits!   
  • We are printing off and taking a deep dive into church donors, individuals, and businesses. We are meeting to determine who is not on the list, who moved to the LYBUNT list and why, who to prioritize for a call or visit, and delegating to individuals and departments what their job is in cultivating these into year-end asks.
  • We printed off a list of all donors who donated to recent fundraising events or projects and held thank-a-thons to thank each one personally. The impact these calls make is enormous! Donors loved being thanked without being ‘asked’ to do or give more. Just say thank you! It really doesn’t take as long as you might think.  Plan your calls during lunch (11 am – 1 pm) and leave messages for a majority of donors. They love the message they get, and it saves you times.
  • We are printing off a list of all donors who had unfulfilled pledges.Guess what? These people want to give us money and will appreciate a gentle 4th quarter reminder so we can both get our books up-to-date! By jumping on the phone today to say thank you and offer a chance to fulfill those pledges we can calculate the dollars we can collect by year end. 
2.  Planning Donor Touches and Year-End Marketing.
  • Right now we are planning our last 3 months of donor touches and marketing. We are working on our Giving Tuesday Campaigns, securing matching donors for Giving Tuesday, creating social media posts, and making sure websites are ready with an active Donate Now link. We are also working on the back end to make sure we have our acknowledgment processes down pat for online donors and a plan for follow-up after the event with results. Here are some great free tools for Giving Tuesday.
  • In addition to Giving Tuesday, we are working on Thanksgiving donor touches, holiday donor touches in December, year-end appeals/asks, preparing tax letters to be merged with donor histories in early January, and most immediately, our Fall Acquisition Mailings.
3. Preparing End of Year Donor Impact Packages.
  • Many organizations compile impact reports for all donors who have contributed large dollars to a specific cause, program, or project. Each packet includes a brief yet specific thank you letter outlining the completion of projects and the number of people served/impacted as a result of their gift. Many include a few 5×8 photos of the specific project/program each donor funded. These packets aren’t required for a grant; it is simply a way to express gratitude and highlight the impact their generosity had on the community.
4. Metrics
  •  All these items take up lots of staff time and energy but should be planned ahead of time for the best results. In addition to these, we are working on metrics to learn how much it cost to acquire a donor this year, what our average gift size has been, and what strategies we need to employ to meet or exceed our development goals for the year. On top of all of this, we are working on budgeting for 2018! 

Part of this budgeting process is creating a fundraising plan for 2018. Do you have one? If you’d like to learn 7 Steps to a Fundraising Plan, join me and Sandy Rees tomorrow for a free webinar!

It’s hard to think about next year when it is taking all of our energy to survive this quarter, but it is important to end 2017 with a clear plan for 2018. So go ahead, make YOUR list and see how impact your organization can bring to all those you serve…and those who help you serve!

Funding For Good is here if we can help you along this path and we are rooting for you all the way!!! Go be successful and keep growing for good!