This is part-two of a two-part blog series on “Ending the Year Strong.”
In my last post, I gave you four tips on how to end your year strong. And our Client Experience Leaders have added some other helpful strategies that they’re sharing with the front-line fundraisers they work with every day. These additional tips are not only going to help you end your year strong, but they will also set you up to start the new year prepared and ready to go.
- Ask again. — You have many donors in your portfolio who give a gift one time per year. Why is that? Our belief is that it’s mainly because you haven’t asked them for more than one gift. So, go back to your portfolio, figure out who has given that one gift already, and knowing the donor’s passions and interests, put together an offer and ask the donor for another gift before year-end. Don’t allow your mind to play tricks on you and have you think a particular donor will ONLY give once. Often, if the offer is appropriate, when asked, a donor will respond positively.
- Create a follow-up plan for all your year-end gifts. — Too many times, front-line fundraisers take a mental break after the holidays, and the first couple of weeks of the new year, you leave the donor in the dark. All those gifts that come in during the last week of the year – those need to be personally followed up on during the first week of the new year. Have a plan now for how you’re going to follow up. Phone calls, emails, and personal thank you notes are in order, but you must plan for it. Carve out the time in your calendar to get this done. The worst thing that could happen is for a donor to give a major gift in late December and not hear back from you until late January. That is not going to cut it.
- Don’t forget stock gifts. — The stock market has been hot this year, growing 20% in 2021. Many donors have the ability to give stock gifts, but they need to be reminded they can do it with your organization. Put this option boldly on your website, send out an email message to your donors letting them know they can give this way, and put it in your e-newsletter and receipts letters. Make it as easy for the donor as possible.
- Last week of December email strategy. — Work with your direct response team to come up with an end-of-year email strategy that goes to your portfolio donors. If you have a matching gift opportunity, that’s even better. Many donors will give an extra gift at year-end or donate stock because you reminded them.
- Take care of yourself. — You’re working your butt off now. But sometime soon, you need to take a break. Plan a few days off now, so you have something to look forward to. Psychologists say that the anticipation of time off is almost as good as taking the time off itself. It gives you the incentive to work hard knowing you will take some time for yourself soon. Resolve to take some downtime by the second half of January.
Okay, if you implement these five plus the other four tips from my last post, I think you have done all you can. And, really, that is all you CAN do. You can feel good that you’ve done your best to allow your donors to do great things in the world. You’re making the world a better place to live because of your hard work.
Have a great year-end!