I always think of winter as a time to gather data and plan for the year ahead, spring as a time to implement these strategies, summer as a time to allocate for additional resources and continue executing on the plan, and autumn as a time to reap the harvest and reflect on the year, looking towards planning for the winter and upcoming year.  Here are some ways you can do this for your nonprofit organization:

  • Take a look at your fundraising efforts so far, measuring your fiscal year results over the previous fiscal year.
  • Look at each of your fundraising programs for annual, major, and planned gifts, and look at your successes to build upon in planning for the upcoming year.  Don’t limit the evaluation of your success just to dollars raised for each program.  For example, you could look at evaluating the following:
    • How many newly identified mid-level and major gift prospects have come to the forefront?
    • How many appointments have been made with these new prospects?
    • How many prospects upgraded their annual gift to your organization?
    • How many new bequests to your organization did you confirm?
    • How many established their first estate plan with you as a beneficiary?
  • Evaluate where there is room for improvement, and what are the road blocks to these challenging situations.  Do you need to do an analytics project to help you identify likely and capable prospects?  Do you need to hire a new major gifts officer or planned gifts officer?
  • Look at the success of your events, and in addition to measuring the dollars raised – as this is important given the cost and effort to produce events – Also take a look at how many face-to-face contacts you made due to the event with new major gift prospects?
  • In planning for year-end appeals, you may want to measure the following with your annual gift efforts:
    • How many responses did your organization receive and was it more than last year, more than expected, or less than expected?
    • How many prospects have upgraded the level of giving?
    • How many have LYBUNTs and SYBUNTs have been re-acquired?
    • Given the above analysis, do you need to adjust the strategy for year-end mailings, phone-a-thons, and email appeals?
    • Do you need to be more strategic with these year-end appeals, segmenting into smaller groups with differing messages?  NOTE: I have some ideas you can look at for more strategic segmentation for year-end appeals in my article entitled, “It’s Not Too Late for a Year End Data Analytics Project”, published in Nonprofit Hub.

There are several other metrics you can look at, but these are just some that might be helpful for your organization to reflect upon this season.  It is not too late to evaluate what has happened so far and analyze your potential to end 2013 by reaping an abundant harvest!

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