Summertime and year end planning

Susanna Decker, Senior Consultant, HUB Philanthropic Solutions

I always enjoy the summer – going to the beach, BBQ’s with friends, bike rides – but summertime, for those of us in the non-profit world also means putting our plans together for our new fiscal year that kicked-off on July 1.  So, if you haven’t already taken a look at your development plan from last year and made some tweaks and adjustments, now is the time to do it!

A good development plan is a like a roadmap…you need one to guide your activities along the way so that you can achieve your results.  So, here are some things to consider when making or adjusting your new plan….

Clearly Define Goals and Responsibilities

One of the most important things you can do to ensure fundraising success is to make sure that your plan includes specific goals and responsibilities.  For example, you may want to increase the revenue of your annual Gala by 15 percent this year.  Or, this year, you would like to increase your major gifts by 10 percent.  So, where do you start?  The best approach is to have a strategy outlined as well as who is responsible for making this happen.  Clearly defined goals and responsibilities increase accountability, they make expectations clear to staff, volunteers and board members, and they allow you to correct course if milestones aren’t met.

Try Something New!

As fundraisers, it is our job to continue to think outside the box and try new things to benefit the organizations in which we work. Take a good hard look at what has worked well and what has not.  Is it time to change-up or stop hosting that “signature” event that you’ve held for the last 10 years?  Try something new and test your donor’s response.  Did you generate new donors or connect with more friends as a result?  If so, keep it.  If not, try something else next year.

Keep your Plan Out – Track your Progress

Sometimes the easy part is to tweak and adjust your plan each year.  But, once we’ve done this…keep the plan out front and center.  Do you know how many visits you need to make each week?  How many touch points you need to make to cultivate your donors each month?  Do you have a thermometer to visually track your corporate gifts to your Gala?  Track and show your progress!  Use your plan with your staff, your Board and your Executive Director so that you can see the progress you and your team are making.  As you move further into the year, your plan can also indicate where more of your attention needs to be directed.  Enjoy the dog days of summer and get your plan ready to go for a great fundraising year ahead!

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