Most people probably don’t love January as much as I do, but as a fundraiser it’s my favorite month. Why January? It’s not because my football team is in the playoffs (Go Ravens!); my love for January predates my football obsession.
Before joining Blackbaud, I used to manage fall walk programs. December was when I’d complete my SWOT and analyze our walk performance. Once the holidays ended and the New Year began it was time to take what learned the previous year and apply it to this year. Don’t worry friends who are managing spring events, I think you’ll find a few ideas here to help you improve your events.
Anyone who knows me knows I’m a football fanatic. During football season, I not only watch the Ravens play, but my TV is permanently tuned to NFL Network. There’s one word you hear football players use over and over again. When asked why they didn’t win, the answer is always “we didn’t execute.” When asked how are going to win this week, the answer is always “we’re going to execute.” Are you noticing a trend here?
Let’s talk about executing. It’s key when it comes to meeting fundraising goals. We could all probably execute our plan better … do you agree? As fundraisers, we know what to do. We have a plan; we know what we need to do to reach our fundraising goals. But, just like in football sometimes our execution isn’t up to par.
Why is execution a challenge for fundraisers? Well, that’s an easy one. Time. Just like in life, something always seems to pop up and requires your time. Time you would have spent executing your plan. Since hindsight is 20/20; what activities required most of your time last year? Where those activities part of your plan or new opportunities? Once you’ve identified what took your time, here the follow-up questions:
- Did the activity generate revenue?
- Are these internal or external activities?
- Can any of these activities be done in advance?
Think about these questions. Think about last year and what part of your plan you weren’t able to execute and which activities you’d like to do better?
I’ll be back in a couple days to share my ideas for ideas for how you can improve your fundraising plan execution. But, in the meantime marinate on this concept of execution. The only to improve is to first identify the missteps. Keep in mind a misstep isn’t a bad thing; it’s an opportunity to do better.