Happy New Year! I hope you had a peaceful and joyful holiday season.
The holiday season is the giving season… a time for reaching your year-end fundraising goals. Now it’s time to start the new year off right.
Let’s start by setting some non-monetary goals and making a plan to stick with them. They’re too important to call them New Year’s Resolutions, they’re easily broken. Let’s call them New Year’s Commitments instead.
A commitment is sticky, it holds on even when the going gets tough.
4 Commitments to Raise Major Gifts in the New Year
Here are four commitments that will make a real difference in raising major gifts this year.
1. Commit to getting your board on board first.
That is, 100% board participation at maximum capacity, by February 15th.
I’ve talked about 100 percent participation, but this year I’m putting it in it’s proper place and perspective by asking you and your board members to commit to a deadline and to give a specific amount.
Leadership is what happens when “talk” becomes commitment. When the board gives first and with maximum capacity they lead by example.
Why should others give before your board has fully committed?
I recently heard my friend and colleague, Kent Stroman, recommend that the executive director and development tell their board they can’t raise major gifts until the board is fully committed. The longer their board takes to give or pledge, the later in the year the staff will start to raise major gifts.
Kent posed the question to his board this way:
When do you want us — your executive director and development director — to get to work?
In addition to giving early in the year, we want board members giving at “maximum capacity.”
You don’t want your board members making token gifts. You want them as committed to your organization’s success as you are. That means every board member should give a meaningful gift for their own individual budget … maximum capacity!
Some will give $100, others will give $1000, and others will give $100,000. But everyone will make a generous and thoughtful gift.
Establish a stretch goal for the board as a whole. Calculate what the board (as a group) gave last year and ask how much more they think they could give this year. That becomes their board goal.
2. Commit to speaking with donors.
This sounds obvious. Make it sticky by stepping up and declaring your plan to meet with and speak with significantly more donors this year.
Commit to having coffee with at least one donor or prospective donor every week, or four per month.
Commit to make three phone calls every day. How about five or ten?
The more you interact with donors, the more likely it is you can ask them for help and for financial support. Make a commitment to speak with donors every day, meet with them every week, all year long and I know you’ll raise more money this year.
3. Commit to staying at your job.
Depending on your situation, this might be the toughest commitment to keep. However, one of the biggest challenges in development is the high turnover rate of development directors and staff members. We are a sector of job hoppers, and it’s not good for our organizations, our donors, or our careers.
Fundraising is about relationships, and it’s difficult for you to develop relationships with donors if you’re only at an organization for a year or two. If donors have seen several development directors come and go from an organization, it will be hard for them to trust you unless you in your position for several years.
Staying at your job is also good for your career. It’s more likely that you’ll be able to raise major gifts once you’ve been at an organization for several years, and being at one organization for at least five years helps build your resume for future positions.
I’m making a commitment to you here. I commit to writing several posts this year to help you stay at your job longer. Stay tuned for my post next week on being happier at you job.
4. Commit to investing in training and continuing education.
As you’ve heard me say before, training works!
In fact, research shows that for every investment in an additional major training opportunity, you will receive $37,000 in additional major gifts. That means it pays to invest in your CFRE, a multi-day conference, or online training course.
If you are committed to raising major gifts this year, make a commitment to yourself, to your organization, and to your donors. I know you can do it!Make a commitment to yourself, your organization, your donors. #majorgiftmovement Click To Tweet
Which of these #NewYearsCommitments will be hardest for you? Share your comment below.