My End-of-Year Fundraising Anxiety

Every time I sit down at my computer to work, I try to put away my anxiety about the world. But now, I have a different kind of stress. End-of-year fundraising anxiety.

This year, for the first time in many years, I need to create my own strategy. As part of the services that Mersky, Jaffe & Associates offers, I am serving as the interim Director of Individual Giving for Daily Table

Thinking about how to retain donors, attract LYBUNTS, and find new donors is not new to me. But for my years with MJA, I have been revising other people’s strategies. I have crafted appeal ideas, written/edited letters and helped choose visuals for emails. But I’ll admit that it feels different to be responsible for the results. Which brings me to how I am coping with

My End-of-Year Fundraising Anxiety

These are the steps I have been taking:

  1. Follow my husband’s advice. One of his favorite quotes is, “You can’t boil the ocean.”* In other words, I can’t look at everything I have to do and do it all at once.
  2. Write out the calendar for the end-of-year fundraising.
    • Consider the topic of each step of the appeal
    • Develop the overall tone
  3. Determine who I need to help me to achieve each piece of the plan.
    • What coordination is necessary to create an email calendar?
    • Who, in the organization, sends the emails?
    • Are there images that could be used? If not, do I take the pictures? Does someone else?
    • Who should sign the appeal letters?
    • How many letters were sent out last year and what is my budget?
    • Will my thinking fit into the social media strategy that is currently planned?
  4. Create interesting opportunities for donors to engage with the organization. I am new –and interim – which means I  am asking a lot of people for a lot of advice. Turns out, people love giving advice and many are quite creative when given the opportunity.
  5. Prioritize the donors above a certain threshold who have not yet given this year and choose 5 to get in touch with this week. And offer those creative opportunities.
  6. Manage gift processing
  7. Get those acknowledgements out!
  8. Add every conversation or piece of information about a donor into the CRM. We are looking for the new Director of Individual Giving for Daily Table and I want the transition to go as smoothly as possible.

At least these are my steps for this week. Please let me know if you think I missed anything. As I said, I am open to advice. And overcoming as much of my end-of-year fundraising anxiety as I can.

*I do realize that this quote might seem insensitive with climate change and rising water temperatures, but I hope you will understand the point of it.