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August 19, 2020
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It’s Back to Basics for Your Year-End 2020

For fundraising, the day after Labor Day isn’t just about Back-to-School. It’s about getting set for the giving season.

This year, things are uncertain and challenging (to say the least!). But Americans have a tradition of giving at the end of the year The giving season will happen – even in 2020 – and you need to be ready!

I wish I could say that there was a silver bullet or a crystal ball or some kind of secret plan. But the fact is that the best thing to do right now is to ground yourself in the basics:

Take a look at your results so far: Revisit your financial reports to see where you are in budget compared to actual and determine how much you need to raise by December 31st.

Create year-end targets: Even if December 31st is not your fiscal year, it’s still helpful to have a year-end goal. Take a look at your fundraising results as well as your financial reports to get a sense of how your fundraising has done to this date.

Put a plan in place: My plan is organized by the big chunks of work we are looking at over the next few months and the channels of giving: mail, digital, event, and major gift solicitation. Yours could be organized by audience: membership, middle donors, major donors, and foundations. Whatever works for you! Make sure your plan is SMARTIE (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound, inclusive, and equitable).

Work your message: This year, more than ever, is a time for communicating with your donors. It’s important to have something relevant to say when you go out with your year-end appeal. Canvass your organization and some of your closest donors to see what messages might carry you through these next couple months. For my organization that means we have to create a message that takes us through the election. No matter what happens, our work is still critical into 2021 and I bet yours is, too.

Have the reports in place to track progress: One thing about year-end fundraising that I’ve found never fails is that the pace can sweep you up quickly. So, be sure to have reports created now that you can easily populate and track your results. These reports should track dollars and donors so that you can spot opportunities and weaknesses, and pivot quickly, if necessary.

And don’t forget to check in with the people that can help you make this happen: staff, leadership, board, volunteers, and the donors themselves. What are they hearing that connects your work to what is going on? What channels of communication are they using? How are they thinking about giving during this tumultuous year?

You’re going to need the basics to help you carry this thing through.

If you’re looking for some inspiration, attend the Rocky Mountain Philanthropy Institute’s Virtual Conference this year. Ann is the RMPI Co-Chair this year! And there’s a great line-up of speakers and plenty to help you weather the rest of 2020.

And – as always – if you need a little guidance or have something to share with others, please leave a comment here. We love hearing from you!


Image by Gloria Kaye via Pixabay

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