This year seems a bit different for many in the advancement operations business around the U.S. Volume seems lower, as supported by this helpful if a bit depressing NonProfitTimes piece. In addition, certain giving areas –athletics in higher education for instance– are operating in a grayish area due to tax reform changes, new motivations for potential donors, and other large-scale factors.
By now, your team’s game plan should be clear and underway. The following tips are hopefully just reinforcement for the smart practices you already have in place.
Here are a few fiscal year end tips:
- Scour LYBUNTS: If you don’t a marked-up LYBUNT list now, start one…figure out for whom you need better data and from whom you simply haven’t received a gift. There is still time–THIS WEEK!–to make a difference with a few donors.
- Make an extra push: Email is inexpensive. Use some new messages (see point #5 below) and try to win over a few more hearts and minds.
- Step up Stewardship: Tell folks who have already given that they’ve made a difference. Tell a new story about the impact of philanthropy on your organization. Consider prominent placement of the organization’s website for the rest of the week. Again, there is still time.
- Communicate Internally: No check left behind! Make sure that your colleagues know, understand, and will follow industry-standard practices to send all checks into the gift administration team asap. Remind folks that this is also a great chance to follow up on any open proposals one last time.
- Be Open Externally: If you’re down, let your constituents know. Some of your donors surely like data and many will appreciate being informed. The cause(s) may remain for examination, but wouldn’t it be healthy to reach out to folks and ask why they decided not to give this year? That could then inform next year’s approaches.
There are dozens of other steps to take (most of which should have been initiated months ago). These last few steps this week will help make the most of a potentially slower season.
Chris Cannon is President of Strategic Services at Zuri Group. His areas of expertise include fundraising strategy and systems, staff and resource management, database management, business intelligence and data reporting, database conversion projects, gift and data processing, and technology needs.