The Annual Fund, when properly planned for and administered, is a full year proposition. That is 12 months, 365 days, 8,760 hours of hard work and determined focus. Mostly. There has to be time to fight with marketing about the survey monkeys and the stupid newsletter photos they insist upon. But otherwise, a full twelve months of board engagement, avoiding lunches at your desk, and sexy sponsorship proposals. Beach Vacation (fundraisers really should take holiday in July. There is no good fundraising to be accomplished) is just around the corner.
So, for most organizations, June 23 mean exactly a week to go is the fiscal year. What’s left to do?
- Day 1: Take Stock. Assess, as always, progress to the plan. You are making your goal, yes? What is left? Too late to write grants? Yes. Is the board fully committed and on time with payments? Where is the remaining opportunity? What volunteer can still help? There is only time for sure bets with a week to go.
- Day 2: Focus on Renewals. It is a mistake to give up on any renewable gift, even if you are at or ahead of your fundraising goal. A donor is much less likely to come back if they miss a year. Those renewal calls are about relationships, not just the money. Leave no gifts behind. Not even one, if you can help it.
- Day 3: Unveil your Gadget Fundraiser. I am not a big fan of kickstarters and so forth to raise renewable revenue. But fiscal year end is a good time to try one. It doesn’t have to Fancy. Send an email (along with a link to an online giving portal) with a challenge….”If we can raise $2,500 in 24 Hours, the Kittens get to go to Band Camp”. The secret of social media fundraising is to keep the campaign short and sweet. No one wants to promote Kitten Band Camp on their Facebook page day after day for weeks on end. Kitten Band Camp was the name of my 5th Band.
- Day 4: Surprise a Donor. Summer is high season for many wonderful programs in our world. Who would like to see the kids learn to fix bicycles, check out the new tree house, or meet the baby platypus? Me. I would. Call me and invite me.
- Day 5: Rest. It is Sunday. Hang out with your kids. The new Bourne film looks solid. For your donor relations folks in the basement, they call that yellow blob in the sky, “The Sun”.
- Day 6: Taco Party. Every fundraising shop needs an occasional taco party. There is a good taquiera in your town, I promise. Al pastor, carnitas, fish for around $1.50 each. Everyone loves tacos. Just don’t get the chicken tacos. Chicken tacos are sad. And if I hear you order yours with sour cream, I will judge. No CFRE for you.
- Day 7: Say Thank You. I am a huge fan of reserving the morning of June 30 for making thank you calls. Gather a group of board members and development committee. Call a bunch of donors, at all levels, and thank them for an amazing year. No ask. No secret agenda. Just a thank you, sincerely, and with joy. A happy fundraiser is an irresistible force for good. Maybe have tacos again while you call donors. Bliss.
Bravo. You made it. See you on July 1, when we pursue 125% of this year’s goals with the same resources and, if we are lucky, 65% donor retention.
Enjoy the Beach!