Are you feeling overwhelmed by the year end fundraising planning process? There’s hope!
Early in my fundraising career I read everything, and I mean everything… so I could plan a wildly successful year end campaign. As the one in a one person development shop I didn’t want to disappoint the people who were counting on me to raise money.
With no donor database and only spreadsheet lists of contacts I planned for everything:
You guessed it… I wound up confused, unfocused, and frustrated. Quite frankly, I wasted a lot of time chasing rabbits instead of raising money.
Many experts offer good fundraising advice but in your quest to learn, it is easy to lose focus and feel confused. While experts may be knowledgeable their advice may not work well in your situation.
My go-to expert in small shop fundraising is Pamela Grow. I highly recommend her Basics & More courses, Simple Development Systems program, and her weekly Grow Report. They’re chock full of practical advice you can implement right away.
Even if you’ve only got spreadsheet records, look to see where your past donations have come from. Which campaigns worked best? How much did you raise from each? How many hours did you spend on each campaign? Which donors contributed? How and how much did they give?
Donor Path is a fantastic data visualization tool that helps you segment your data with the click of a button, and your subscription includes two monthly coaching sessions with the fundraising expert of your choice and access to their resource library which is chock full of templates you can use immediately.
Of course, if you’ve got time, you can try a do-it-yourself approach by creating a spreadsheet with a list of campaigns, donors to each campaign, amount raised, and number of gifts for the past 1-3 years.
You’ve got limited time and resources to rock your year-end annual appeal. Don’t chase rabbits!
It’s better to do a few things well than to try to do everything and miss the mark. If Giving Tuesday doesn’t yield much in donations, it’s alright to skip it and focus on your year end campaign.
Like all of us, donors are also overwhelmed during the holidays. Make your appeals stand out.
TIP: In the words of Tom Ahern, loverize your donors!
Don’t worry about achieving perfection. Just get it done!
Jot down successes and failures so you can revisit them later. Keep your eyes on the prize – the DONOR! Love what you do because joy is contagious.
She is the president and principal of Nonprofit Plus, LLC, a fundraising consulting firm dedicated to helping you get better at doing good.