29 Nov Are You Ready for December?
Happy Holidays everyone. It’s time again to finish strong. Are you ready for December? Here’s what I’m thinking about. What are YOU thinking about?
Most of my clients plan to do two or even three drops of their fall appeal letters. If you are planning two drops, you should be getting the second drop ready this week for mailing next Tuesday. If you are on the three-drop plan, you’ll be looking at a third drop in two weeks. (See Fall Appeal Planning)
From your solicitations to your newsletters, to your updates and thank you letters, the importance of communicating warmth, openness, and a sense of momentum is magnified in December. People want to know that their gifts made a difference and were noticed by you.
So resist the time-saving temptation to treat everyone the same. Avoid the trap of seeing “them” as simply a bank account for “our” work. I’ve talked on this blog about communicating Good News. When you do, remember that the donor is part of the “we” that got it done.
This is NOT the time for fundraisers to take a vacation. This year, both Christmas and New Year’s Day are Sundays. That means that Here’s your to-do list for the last two weeks in December:
- Be there to answer the phone when your donors call to make a last-minute gift of stock.
- Send out follow-up emails to people who have not yet responded to the Fall Appeal.
- Write personal thank you letters.
- Call your board members to tell them how much you appreciate them serving on the board.
- Get your filing done.
Finally, take the time to see your organization through the eyes of your donors. Is your website easy to navigate? Can you make an on-line gift easily? Are your communications warm? Inclusive? Does your organizational culture show appropriate appreciation for giving? What can you do to improve in these areas in 2017?
Photo by Jonatan Pie courtesy of Stocksnap.io.
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Here’s what I’ve been thinking about for November. What are YOU thinking about?
Fundraising Planning for 2017
For me, November is my planning month. My appeal is long gone, my grants are out, and the few personal visits I have left are scheduled and happening. It’s time to set the stage for next year.
Last year, about this time, I posted on how to grab a first take on what might be a reasonable goal for next year based on this year’s work. You can find that post here: Annual Giving. I also posted on using a Planning Calendar, and a fanciful Dream of Board Fundraising – Getting board members started building relationships with donors next year. (Hint: start by asking board members to call people making gifts this year to say Thank You.)
If you’ve managed your work well this year, you should get to spend a great deal of time between Thanksgiving and the Superbowl party writing Thank You letters. Here’s a refresher:
- Remember that your thank you letters can and should carry your annual communications theme, too.
- Get your thank you letters out right away. My aunt used to say that the value of a thank you note is reduced by half for every day that goes by. Aim for either the same day or the next day.
- Mention the specific amount of the gift unless your organization will be sending a separate receipt. And if the actual gift was not cash, always describe the actual gift rather than assigning or declaring a value for it. Thank them for their gift of “100 shares of XYZ stock,” or the “twelve conference chairs,” or whatever.