Planning for
a Successful Year

Ann Fitzgerald President AC Fitzgerald author

Ann C. Fitzgerald, President

After completing a successful year in sales, I remember feeling disheartened in January when I realized that I was starting the New Year with a completely blank slate and absolutely zero dollars towards my sales quota.

Looking around at the top salespeople with whom  I was competing  I relayed my concern to my sales manager who said, “Ann, everyone starts at zero.”

That was an important lesson to me and it is one that applies to fundraising as well. Whether you are the best in the business or the worst, in a large organization or small, we all start the fiscal year at zero. We each need to create strategies, research prospects, communicate our message, build relationships, and make “the asks” to reach our fundraising goals by year-end.

Here are some thoughts about how to make the most of your time:

  • Evaluate your mission, vision and programs and craft a message that inspires donors to give.
  • Decide which fundraising programs you will pursue this year (high-dollar direct mail, major gift, planned giving) and where you can have the most success.
  • For major donors, establish a realistic budget that includes your target “ask” amount. Then add up all the potential gifts. Knowing you won’t get every gift, will you have enough money for your programs? If not, you need to expand your pool of prospects.
  • Schedule several hours, a half-day or a whole day each month to review your fundraising strategies for each major donor. Get the meeting dates for the entire year on your calendar now.
  • Decide how you will build relationships with your donors through various communication channels (mail, email, phone calls, etc.). Create a calendar to schedule your mailings and reports so donors receive regular updates.

It may be February, but it’s not too late to make some resolutions that will have a major impact on your fundraising this year!

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.

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