Raise More $$ by Year-End

Ann Fitzgerald President AC Fitzgerald author

Ann C. Fitzgerald, President

The last quarter of the year is almost upon us. If your contributions revenue is not where it should be, meet with your team and put a year-end plan in place now. There is still time for a final push to raise more funds to meet your organization’s financial goals for 2012. Many nonprofits raise as much as 60% of their total revenue in the fourth quarter. Here are some ideas on how to reach – and exceed – your goals.

Create a workable plan. Know who, what, when and how. Who will be involved? Development staff, of course. But what about other personnel, board members and volunteers?  What are your fundraising activities – e.g., mailings, telephone calls, emails, etc? When are you going to communicate? Create a calendar to monitor your progress. How is the organization staffed for the holiday season? Do you have the capacity to handle gift processing and phone calls, especially during the last week of the year?

Craft a relevant message. Do you need money? Yes. Is that the reason why a donor gives? No. Craft a compelling message that speaks to the donor’s interest and motivation for giving. Also, because the outcome of the election will greatly impact the political environment, policy-orientated groups should prepare two different cases for support now that reflect what their work, relevancy and priorities will be in an Obama or Romney presidency.

Use multiple communication methods.  Identify all of the ways you can reach donors to secure a year-end gift. Develop a plan to connect with donors using more than one communication vehicle. For instance, send an email in conjunction with a direct mail letter to elevate response rates.

Segment your donor lists.  Ensure that no donors are missed. Divide your lists among high-dollar current donors; low-dollar current donors; and lapsed donors. Create a plan that puts the most emphasis and attention on the first group without ignoring the other segments.

Make it a team effort. This is the time of year for “all hands on deck.” The entire staff can assist by making calls and sending thank-you notes. Board members should be apprised of your goal and asked for their financial help and assistance in thanking donors. In addition, work out a schedule for the final two weeks of the year to ensure that the office is properly staffed and equipped to accept last-minute donations.

The fall is 1 wonderful time of the year, but can present many distractions to fundraisers.  With a few essential steps, each nonprofit can enjoy the season and use the fourth quarter to end the year in the black. These actions will make ringing in 2013 all the more enjoyable.

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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