13 Oct Taking Stock – Q3
Back in May, I talked about periodically using some reflective time to “take stock” of where you are right now versus where you thought you’d be at this time (See Taking Stock). Presumably, if you acted on the advice, you: 1) redoubled your effort to close all of your board commitments; 2) evaluated your renewal rates; 3) set up summer activities designed to get your board members and your donors together; and 4) started thinking about your fall events.
In July, I suggested that it was time to do it again (See Taking Stock – Q2), and I introduced the idea that you add a “Forecast” column to your organizational budget.
Fundraiser’s Almanac: September
- Handwritten Letters
- Getting the Most from Your Fundraising Events
- Good News
- Filing/Data Entry
- Lapsed Member Letters
Fundraiser’s Almanac – October
- Donor Appreciation Events
- Taking Stock – Q3
- Fall Appeal 1st Drop
- First Take – Fundraising Planning for 2016
The forecasting question is simply this: Given what I know right now about what foundations, corporations, and individuals have committed, and what I know right now about what requests are still out there, and what I know right now about the requests I will yet write before 12/31, can I still project getting to each of the budget numbers? If not, where will each number end up?
Take each budget line item in turn and “forecast” what the actual for that line item will be at the end of the year. If you budgeted $30,000 to come from foundations this year, and you have already raised $25,000, and you know that you have another $50,000 in grant requests out there, and one of them feels good for $10,000, then “forecast” $35,000. The forecast for another budget item may not be so rosy. Be honest. Be conservative.
One organization with which I’m working forecast back in July being close to $70,000 short by the end of the year. They swung into action with three new initiatives – a special appeal letter mailed in late summer, a special request of current and former board directors, and a “Mug of Change” campaign whereby members were asked to fill a coffee mug with pocket change between now and the end of the year for the land trust. So far they’ve raised an additional $35,000. Between that and holding the line on the expense side, they are cautiously optimistic about closing the entire gap by year’s end.
My point is that if you wait until December 20th to figure out that you’re going to be short – it’s too late. Forewarned is forearmed.
There’s another benefit to forecasting, too. Another Executive Director with whom I’ve worked reported recently that this was the first year in many years that she was not worried about how the year will end. A gray hair saved is a gray hair earned. (That didn’t come out quite right.)
So how was your Rally this year? If you came back with a nugget – something you learned that you can implement right away, I’d love to hear about it. I did a couple of sessions, on Communications Planning and on Director Mail Letters. My sincere thanks to my presentation partners, Carolyn Brown and Anita O’Gara, respectively. They were terrific to work with.
If you missed the workshops, I have put the presentation materials on the Resources Page.