In September I published a post called 5 Things You Can Do This Week to get Organized for Year-End Fundraising. This post has been one of the most popular on my blog over the last few months, with several people noting that it gave them some great tips.
As we head into the last month of the year, I know many of you are probably feeling the crunch – both in your professional and personal lives. In an effort to help you get clarity on your priorities and maximize this fundraising time, I thought I would write a follow-up post with a few more tips to get organized for next month.
Some of these tips build on what I wrote in the first post, so be sure to read that one first.
Review your master calendar and task list
The first thing I suggest doing is reviewing your master calendar and task list. As you look through it, here are a couple of things to consider:
- Are you on track? Not only to meeting your goals, but also in terms of keeping up with your workload?
- What needs to be adjusted?
- What new information/insights have you learned since you originally created the calendar and task list that might make you change things up?
- Finally, update your calendar and task list to reflect any changes.
Identify your mission critical items
There’s a lot that happens in December and it can be really easy to lose track of your priorities. To mitigate this happening, I suggest that you identify the top 1 to 3 items that are mission critical. In other words, if you do nothing else, these things MUST happen.
What are mission critical items? Tasks that move you closer towards your goal(s).
Anticipate your busy days and plan accordingly
You likely have some idea of what days you are going to be busiest, like the day before and day of #GivingTuesday. I’ve found that when I anticipate the days when I’ll have a full schedule, I will try to get things done ahead of time to make my life a little easier. Really, the simplest things can help. In the instance of #GivingTuesday, you might create a frequently asked questions document and pre-write answers to questions your expect to get from donors that day. That way you can copy and paste your answers and save time.
Get your stewardship ducks in a row
Yes, December is a month of asking, but it’s also a month for gratitude. Or at least it should be! In my experience, stewardship will often slip through the cracks because there’s not a solid system in place to support it. Your system doesn’t have to be fancy. It could be as simple as anytime a donation is received, you send out a thank you letter within 3 days. Right now, it’s just important to figure out what your system will be.
Additionally, you might also want to update your thank you letters and emails. Ensure that the copy is relevant and reflects what you’ve asked donors to give to. Finally, schedule time for thank you phone calls. If it’s on your calendar, you more likely to make it happen.
Give yourself some white space
My very smart friend, Anne Samoilov, coined the term “white space,” which means unscheduled time in your calendar to accommodate downtime, breaks, creativity, or the occasional emergency. I think this is especially important during a busy month such as December. You might want to have a 2 or3-hourr block once a week of white space. You might also want to consider a weekend day of white space so that you can practice self-care and recharge. If you’re interested in tips for self-care, check out this post.
I hope these tips help you next month. Be sure to leave a comment below and let me know what else you do to get organized!
When fundraising it is important to be organized in order to succeed. Great tips, thanks for sharing!
Vanessa Chase Lockshin says
Whole-heartedly agree, Laurie! Happy organizing!