Christmas in July

Susan E Mangels Senior Vice President Consulting Services at AC Fitzgerald Author

Susan E. Mangels, Ph.D, Senior Vice President of Consulting Services

Or … it’s already later in the year than you think.

When Christmas and calendar year end are approaching, we tend to pull out all stops. We make sure to connect with every donor. We work single-mindedly, with great urgency, knowing the year is coming to a close.

But today … forget Thanksgiving, and holiday parties, and year-end giving. Think instead, July 31. If July 31 marked the end of the year, what would you be doing this morning?

Keep in mind that this fall many people will be thinking about elections. Before that, in August people are often out of office on vacation, and then distracted by the new school year. And we all know how quickly the start of the school year moves into the start of the holidays, pulling everyone in a thousand different directions.

In short, we don’t have a lot of time left, even though it’s only June 2. Summer – leading up to July 31 – is actually a time almost as important as year-end.

Here are five things to work on NOW with focus, prudent speed, and that focused year-end push:

  1. Get those donor meetings in. Early summer is a great time to secure donor meetings. You have the next 6-8 weeks to be face-to-face with your top donors and prospects. Get to work today to set those up!
  2. Help donors see the value of our mission. As communications guru Tom Ahern reminds us “Stories sell. Statistics tell.” Make an attractive impact report that combines personal anecdotes with strong data to make a great statement with your supporters.
  3. Work with urgency to make progress toward your annual program goals before this fall. Get out ahead now. What can be front-loaded today?
  4. Set a brisk and purposeful pace. Define lead measures with your development team and set moves to consistently execute each week in order reach – maybe even exceed – your July 31 summer benchmark.
  5. Frame your day around these goals. Ask yourself every morning, “what two things do I need to do today that will most benefit our endeavor?” And do those steps as early in your day as possible.

Moving ahead with determination these days of early summer isn’t easy – many of us would rather be cutting out early to enjoy outdoor pursuits and summer picnics – but our consistent outreach, commitment to execution, and acting with alacrity now, will pay off this busy autumn, and will surely set our organizations up for success.

For more takes on moving at a steady and strong pace to make progress towards big goals, check out some of my earlier posts here or here

Susan E. Mangels, Ph.D. serves as Senior Vice President of Consulting Services at AC Fitzgerald. She uses her expertise in fundraising, management, and leadership development to oversee our consulting efforts and deliver exceptional service to clients.

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