Almost every morning I drag myself out of bed and drive to my local YMCA to do lap swimming. I like this Y because it’s in a working class neighborhood, and when the doors open at 6am I’m the youngest one standing in line waiting to get in. Not a lot of hard bodies (including myself) are going to my gym, but I love supporting a non-profit, and they have a pretty decent pool.
The other morning I dug into my gym bag and realized my “clear” goggles were missing, so I had to go to my “reserve” ultra-shaded goggles that I normally use for very sunny, outdoor pools. My local Y pool, built in the 1950’s, is fairly dark. The lighting is not very good, and it was still dark outside. But what was I going to do?
I put on those reserve goggles and started swimming. It was like swimming in a dark closet. It was very disorienting, and I had trouble doing my flip turns because I couldn’t properly judge where the wall was. It totally wrecked my workout. It just didn’t feel right, and all I was focused on was how I couldn’t see anything.
It was frustrating.
This is what it’s like for you in fundraising if you don’t have a strategic plan for your work with donors. Without a roadmap where you can clearly see how you’re going to get from A to B with every one of your donors, it’s like swimming while wearing shaded goggles in a dark pool.
You don’t know where you are going.
So now we’re approaching the final quarter of the year, and I’m wondering if you can see clearly how you are going to make your revenue goals. If not, I urge you to check out our latest Major Gift Academy course, Making Your Year-End Goals.
If you really don’t have a road map or strategic plan for every one of your donors, now is the time to do it. You still have time to figure out with some of your top donors how, what and when with each of them. If you can do that, the results will be fantastic.
Then, in late October or November when you start planning for 2017, you can do this planning for every donor on your caseload… setting a revenue goal and creating a plan for how you are going to achieve it.
You might be thinking to yourself, “Why do these guys from Veritus talk about goals and plans all the time? I think I get it.”
The reason Richard and I are so adamant about having a goal and a plan for every donor is that when you do, it keeps you focused and accountable; and this will, more than likely, lead you to be successful.
Unfortunately, having a plan for every donor is not a common practice with many non-profits. They think that major gifts work is about going out to lunch, dinner and events with rich people, and talking up the non-profit.
This strategy is the equivalent of swimming with ultra-shaded goggles in a dark pool at my YMCA. You don’t have a clear path, you feel uncertain, you’re not sure you’re doing it right, you can’t see to make the right turns or moves with your donors – it’s disorienting.
At Veritus Group, we believe in planning so much that we’ve created white papers and tools for you to use for free, so that there is absolutely no excuse for you NOT to create a plan for every one of your donors.
Again, if you haven’t built a plan yet, don’t worry about it. You can do one today. If you’re not sure how to do it, sign up for our course and we’ll take you step by step. Yes, it will take some work, but you’ll be able to see clearly!
P.S. – Don’t forget to sign up for our MGA Course, “Making Your Year-End Goals.” It’s loaded with some great practical, hands-on advice to help you succeed this year.