First in a series: Six Things You Can Do This Summer to Help You Win in the 4th Quarter!
Summertime, and the living is easy… I love that song from the musical “Porgy and Bess.” Unfortunately, I run into too many folks during the summer who actually put this into practice in their major gift work.
Now, I understand. In many development shops across the country, summer kind of slows down a bit. That’s actually not a bad thing. We all have rhythms in our lives during the course of the year, just like we do at work. However, you can take two approaches to summertime.
The first approach is to sort of let it slip away from you, perhaps not putting in the hours you did earlier in the year, sip your favorite beverage and have a good time. The second approach would be to use the more relaxed time to prepare for what is going to be a very busy time of the year, and set yourself up for a winning last quarter.
Over these six posts, I’ll be giving you ideas on how you can make good use of this more laid back time of the year, so you can prepare for a great end of year and finish strong. In other words, if you are getting ready to go to the beach or vacation by the lake, you can take the Passionate Giving Blog with you for some great summer reading and get inspired!
Now that the first half of the year has ended, the beginning lesson for the summer is to do a quick review of your caseload and 1) determine where you are compared to your overall goals with each donor and 2) create a new list of your caseload donors who are behind in your revenue goals for them.
Richard and I find it perplexing that many major gift officers have no idea at the half-way point in the year how they are actually doing compared to their goals. Even more perplexing to us is how some MGOs have a false idea of where they actually are. Let me explain. Recently I was reviewing a brand new client’s caseload and asked the MGO what his current status was towards his goal. The answer? “Oh, I’ve already made my goal for the year.” “Wow, great” I said. “How did you do that?”
Well, I found out how. When I reviewed the goals and revenue of each donor I noticed that this MGO had 35 donors who had no goals attached to them, yet the revenue that came in this year was counted toward his goal. So, in reality, this MGO was not even halfway toward his revenue goal… for the donors that HAD a goal.
So, here we are at just over the halfway point in the calendar year. Let’s get real with our numbers, okay? It does YOU no good not to know where you REALLY are.
Okay, so now you should know what your numbers are and can identify those donors who are behind goal. At this point in the year, what you want to do is take some time to re-strategize how you are going to “make up” the revenue that you expected in the first half of the year.
I find this exercise to be really helpful because it allows you to stay ahead of a potential problem. What do I mean? Well, because you have roughly six months to obtain the revenue from that donor, you have the time to readjust and come up with new strategies and tactics. If you don’t readjust, you’re most likely going to be facing a problem at the end of the year.
Even better, you can let your manager know about the situation by giving him a quick “half-year” caseload report that proactively points out potential problem areas. This lets your manager know that you are indeed aware of the situation and that you have a plan to address it. I don’t know any manager that wouldn’t love that kind of report from an MGO.
Unfortunately, Richard and I are amazed at how many MGOs actually try to “hide” their numbers when things are not going so well. That is the WORST thing you could possibly do. Why? Because I guarantee you that you WILL get found out and, once you do, you’ll lose the trust of your manager. Please don’t make this mistake.
Get ahead of a problem. Acknowledge it, and then figure out how to address it. Now is the time. Summertime.
Read the whole series — Summertime Lessons:

  1. Summertime Lesson #1: Create New Plans for Donors Behind Goal (this post)
  2. Summertime Lesson #2: Figure Out Who Your Donors Are
  3. Summertime Lesson #3: Get Ahead of the Game!
  4. Summertime Lesson #4: Learn Something New!
  5. Summertime Lesson #5: Get Deep with Some Donors. Do Something Crazy!
  6. Summertime Lesson #6: Get Some Rest and Get Inspired!