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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

6 To-Do's For Fundraisers in January



It's January. Time for personal resolutions, goal setting, and...fundraising stress! So how will you cope?

Why is January so tough? Most say it's because...

1. People don't historically donate much in January because they gave in December or they're dealing with post-holiday financial stress.

2. You were so focused on your year end campaigns, that now you have to deal with the follow up--thank yous, data entry, customer service issues, fulfillment of any benefits.

3. Even if you're not on a calendar year budget, there's something about a change in year that has people thinking about resetting goals. So what have you raised lately? Since January 1?

4. If you took time off during the holidays, now you have to catch up. If you didn't take time off during the holidays, you're now dealing with a deluge of emails and tasks from others who did. Either way, everyone is trying to make up for a slower work time at the end of the year.

Don't panic. (Yet.) Try this short check list to get the year off to a good start.

1. Set deadlines.
Get a wall calendar that has the entire year on it. Yes, it's low tech, but it's amazing how seeing the "year at a glance" can help you get projects done.

Calendar mailing dates, event dates, monthly ask goals, grant deadlines, cultivation plans, etc. After the major deadlines are on the calendar, put other "mini" deadlines on the calendar if you need to. Color code it, if that's the way you roll. Display in a prominent place where you and others can see it.

2. Tune up your lists. 
When's the last time you looked at your priority donor lists? Prospect lists? Look at them and reorder them if needed. Also, look at your goals, which are lists in a way. Do they need updating?

3. Stop doing one thing.
We have a tendency to add things to do in January. Resolutions almost always require starting something new. Why not stop something to make room for something new? Identify one thing that you're either not good at, don't enjoy, or can easily and cheaply delegate.

4. Ask for something.
Just because we typically do a lot of asking in November and December doesn't mean we can't ask in January. Talk to someone and ask for something. Maybe it's a gift that you've been developing for a while, or volunteer help, or a donation of services, or simply advice. Ask.

5. Change one thing, but only one.
Okay, it IS resolution month. Pick one thing, and only one thing, that didn't go as well as you would have liked last year. How can you change it, and how does it fit into your existing deadlines and lists? Is it connected to your "stop" item? How can someone help you with this change?

6. Celebrate success.
During the holiday season, fundraisers are often too busy to celebrate the successes of the year. So take a breath and recap what you accomplished last year. Thank your team in ways that are meaningful to them.

Celebrate all you have accomplished so far, so that you can have the motivation to move forward again.

Happy New Year!

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