Focusing on
a Fantastic Fall

Ann Fitzgerald President AC Fitzgerald author

Ann C. Fitzgerald, President

Summer isn’t officially over for three more weeks but the Tuesday after Labor Day marks the beginning of fall for many of us.

It is certainly the beginning of the busiest time of year for most fundraisers. If your fiscal year ends in December, then you are probably looking at your income goal for the year and your revenue to date and wondering what you need to do to close the gap.

Here are some ideas to help you prepare for a productive fall season:

  • Get organized. At this moment do you know if you are on track to meet your income goals? If not, identify all your income sources and review which donors have not yet given this year. If you receive support from grantmaking foundations, be sure to review any upcoming deadlines for proposals this fall. Finally, take a look at your mailing and emailing schedules to ensure you have a communications plan in place.
  • Get planning. It’s time to review your goals and set clearly defined objectives for everyone on the staff. Do you know which donors could have the most impact in achieving your income goals? Do you know who you must visit and who you must call? Or how many direct mail appeals you will send in the coming months? It’s a good idea to get your plan in place in the next two weeks. Also, take the time now to schedule the dates for staff fundraising meetings that you will hold between now and the end of the year to keep everyone on track.
  • Get optimistic. Think about the message that you want to convey to your donors about your organization and your work. As Ken Burnett writes in The Zen of Fundraising, “Fundraising is about meeting needs not celebrating achievements.” So consider how you can share your success while describing to donors your organization’s needs and how the donors can make a difference. And remember that fundraising enables your organization toachieve its mission. Be proud and optimistic in this endeavor.
  • Get motivated. This is an exciting time of year because we have a wonderful opportunity to reach out to many donors, learn about their interests, and inspire them with our story. Sometimes we are so focused on “meeting the budget” that we don’t take the time to reflect on how our organization has improved the lives of other people. So spend a little time reflecting on this to motivate you for the hectic days ahead.
  • Get moving. There’s an old sales technique called “GOYA” which stands for: “Get off your ….um…butt.” We all have the same number of days between September 4 and December 31. How will you make use of them?

Good luck!

Ann C. Fitzgerald is Founder and President of AC Fitzgerald, using her decades of experience in fundraising, management, leadership, and sales to help nonprofits build their capacity and achieve success. She is a sought-after speaker, writer, and advisor.

Subscribe to our free ACF Nonprofit Partner blog for insights to help your nonprofit thrive.