Your Year End Checklist

If you’re like me, you like to go into the office during the quiet times when you can get a lot of uninterrupted work done. As the new year approaches and many of your coworkers are out of the office, take time to do the following four things.

  1.  Personally Thank Every Donor

Make sure that you thank every donor who gives this holiday season. All donors should get an immediate acknowledgement and, within 48 hours of the gift, a personal thank you. A nice touch is to have the executive director or board members to put a personal note and sign the letters. For a little extra touch, send your donors a holiday card or note with the thank you letter. Alternatively, you could hold a thank-a-thon where board members call all donors to wish them a happy holiday season or new year and express gratefulness for their support. I know one nonprofit I give to does this and I always feel appreciated, even if it is through a voice mail message.

And guess what? I give again. They are one of my top causes because they treat me as a human and not an ATM.

  1.  Catch Up on Your Data Entry

Chances are that you have gotten many donations in the past few weeks. Recording all those donations is paramount to running accurate year end reports and easily keeping in touch with your donors. Hopefully, you are encouraging online donations and you have a donation payment system that integrates with your donor database so you capture online donor information easily. For those donors who prefer to give by cheque, the data will have to be entered by hand. I know, not the most exciting task. But a necessary one to keep up with.

  1.  Clean Your Donor and Mailing Lists

Before you enter the new year, make sure your donor and mailing lists are updated with the correct salutations, name spellings, physical addresses, and email addresses. And put the names of people with haven’t given in the past five years on your inactive list. You want clean mailing lists so that you expend resources where you are most likely to see results, that is, among those still interested in the work of your nonprofit.

I know, it’s counterintuitive. It’s not pleasant. And your number of donors go down. But the names of the donors you’re left with are truly interested in your cause and ripe for further cultivation. And building relationships with your donors translates into bigger donations.

  1.  Self-care

And remember to take care of yourself. Do something rejuvenating for yourself. Whether it’s going skiing, getting a mani-pedi, or reading a book for pleasure – whatever it is – just do it. You work hard. You give so much. You need to restore your reserves. Although working relentlessly produces great short-term gains, the long-term results aren’t as satisfying. You get weary; the job becomes a chore; and other relationships suffer from inattention. If you’re not careful, you burn out. To fight it, take time away from the job. It is imperative that you do something for yourself.

Next Steps

Let’s talk about where your nonprofit is in its fundraising journey and what your next steps are.  You’re invited to schedule a complimentary, thirty-minute strategy session with me.  During our time together, we’ll clarify the issues your nonprofit is facing, explore possible solutions, and develop a plan of action.

I look forward to speaking with you!

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