When I was a kid, I would start writing my Christmas list in August. I wanted plenty of time to edit and revise the draft until I was sure that Santa would understand exactly what I wanted (and which items took priority). I even remember getting a little stressed one year because school was about to start, but I hadn’t completed my first draft yet.
Of course, there’s a world of difference between writing a list for Santa and making a year-end fundraising plan. Still, if you want to have a successful year-end, it’s time to start making your list.
Grab a pen and start brainstorming about what you’d like to see in your campaign this year-end. Here are five questions to get your mind in planning mode:
- What would your ideal results look like, and what are you hoping to accomplish? In addition to an actual dollar amount, think about your campaign goals in broader terms, such as growing your donor base, having enough funds for various initiatives, increasing board involvement, etc.
- Whom are you trying to target, and what do you most want them to do for you organization? Long before your first appeal is sent, consider your audience and what sort of message would inspire them to support your organization.
- Do you have funds available to create the kind of campaign you have in mind? If not, how might you be able to close the gap? Think of board members, gift-in-kind donations, corporate sponsors, etc.
- How broad will the reach of this campaign be? Consider campaign duration, communication channels, social media, and whether this is be a one-time appeal, or something that requires follow-up.
- Who is available to lead and coordinate the campaign from start to finish? In addition to a leader, you’ll need someone to help with strategy, as well as someone to assist with communications. If you don’t have a large staff, think about which areas you might be able to fill with volunteers.
Once you’re thinking about these things in a general way, it’s time to start nailing down specifics. There’s a lot that goes into a successful year-end, and even veteran fundraisers can feel overwhelmed if there’s not a clear action plan to govern the process.