Are you Ready for Some Turkey?

Are you Ready for Some Turkey?

Halloween, 2016. Returning from Rally to kids in costume, extended World Series, and fall color yielding to bare branches. The election will soon be (mercifully) over, then Thanksgiving, Christmas, and 2017. Everything is moving so fast.

Are you ready for November? Are you getting the most out of the magic three months when 50-70% of all your gifts for the year will be committed? Here’s what I’m thinking about. 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.

I’ve been writing about development planning since August, and the sequence to date is listed below. I will complete it this month with posts on membership renewals and appeals, recovering lapsed members, and attracting new support. 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.)


Giving Thanks

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. As a refresher, here’s what I suggested way back in February:

  • 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.


More on Development Planning next week!




Photo credit: Wild Turkey Pair by Walt Kaesler.

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If you missed Rally, you missed Andrew Bowman’s first Rally dinner speech. He knocked it out of the park. The slide that brought the house down, though, was of him leaning against a sidewalk sign that read:

If beer is not the answer, then the question sucks!


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The Development Planning Sequence so far:

The BIG Picture


Soliciting the Board

Cultivating the Board

Cultivating Top 100 Donors

Annual Giving Leaders

Corporate and Foundation versus Individual Donors

Corporate Funders

Foundation Funders

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