For fundraisers, the holidays can bring as much joy as panic. Alyssa advises you to act on these year-end fundraising tips now to keep your nerves in check later.
The holidays may seem far away. But before you know it, people around the world will be purchasing Christmas gifts, lighting menorahs, and getting ready to ring in 2019.
For fundraisers, the holidays bring as much joy as panic, with calendar year fundraising goals often looming over their head. In the rush to meet these critical targets, fast and rash fundraising can lead to irreversible mistakes that can threaten the core of what we all seek to do: build meaningful relationships.
Below are three year-end fundraising tips to set you up for success in the snowstorms of December as you enjoy the last few rays of sunshine this summer.
Featured Photo: Saving Mother's Lives in Sierra Leone and Liberia by BRAC USA
1. My first year-end fundraising tip? Know your year-end prospects NOW for increased or new gifts in December.
I’ve been in many a conversation in November with a fundraiser who has not yet identified those they seek to ask for an additional gift, an increased gift, or a first-time gift time before the year is out.
Overwhelmed by events, to-do lists, and data entry, many forget to do the single most important thing a fundraiser can: spend time with donors! Ensure August is the month you not only identify these donors, but have some sort of meaningful touch point with them each month until December arrives. Make sure that your October or November meeting has you asking permission for a gift in December—don’t surprise them!
A simple, “I’d love to invite you to make a year-end gift the next time I see you” can guarantee that by Christmas day you have secured their commitment and made it a joyful experience for them. Then you can get out and deck the halls with a healthy budget for January 2019!
[Download GlobalGiving’s free digital fundraising guide to put a plan in motion to achieve your goals.]
2. Make sure your communications strategy builds momentum to the year-end appeal.
If you’ve been speaking about scholarships all year long and then decide to ask funders to invest in systems change in December, it may be perceived as coming out of nowhere. Make sure each communication you put out is a building block to educate donors as to the investment they can make when they choose you at the end of the year. August’s messages should set you up to share September’s data and that should lead to an interview with an influencer in October that believes in your model and talks about the impact of your recent evaluations. That should all lead up to a recap in November of successes and learnings that make a compelling case for an investment in December. This type of planning can also be turned into templates to be used over and over again in support of all donor communications.
[Use GlobalGiving’s year-end fundraising checklist to get your team organized now.]
3. Take some down time and invest in your own leadership.
Seriously. September to December can be absolutely crazy busy for development teams. Grab these last few weeks in Augusts and recharge.
[Get more wellness tips for your nonprofit in this article.]
Book a retreat. Attend a professional development session. Put a mindfulness practice in place. Remind yourself that success is not only about the numbers, it’s about the relationships you are building. That includes your relationship to yourself. Treat yourself well and stand up for what you need to reach your goals. No one can do this work well alone.