Cracking open a fresh calendar is a good feeling – nothing but clean space and possibilities for a bright future! Spending time on mindful planning now can set you up for success in the year to come. Here are five tips to create a roadmap for a successful year of fundraising:
1. Conduct a big-picture review of the past year
Do a broad sweep of your work calendar to see where you spent most of your time. Could your hour-long meetings be reduced to 30 or even 15-minute holds?
It’s also a good time to assess your annually recurring activities, particularly events. Are you hosting the same, expensive gala year after year with dwindling results? Consider swapping it for something fresh, like an un-gala.
2. Start with immovable dates
Are there events, meetings, or deadlines that you can use as anchor points through the year? Add these to your calendar first so you can plan around them. Your future self will be grateful when you don’t have a board meeting the same week that your annual appeal is due to the printer!
Work backwards with your communications plan
Add the dates you’d like your appeals to hit homes and email send dates. From there, you can create deadlines for yourself, giving ample time to start drafting, get feedback from all relevant stakeholders, and add any design elements.
If you work with a printing services company, it can help to schedule an annual check-in with your rep. Have their turnaround times changed recently? Have any supply shortages impacted their workflows?
3. Include time for professional development and rest
While every nonprofit has a unique schedule, summer is a great time for many organizations to focus on team building and professional development. In the new hybrid era, there are plenty of free digital conferences, webinars, and other resources you can use to stay on top of industry trends and connect with fellow nonprofit professionals to share ideas and swap stories from the road.
4. Pick a theme or focus for each month
There are so many topics worth exploring in the nonprofit sector, and making time to learn is key to staying on top of industry trends and best practices. Consider giving each month a theme this year and make some time to discover something new that will help your fundraising practice grow.
This 2023 Fundraising Calendar comes pre-equipped with best practices, monthly themes, and fundraising tips to keep you inspired throughout the year. Each month provides an opportunity to focus and hone in on a particular fundraising strategy.
5. Luck comes to the well-prepared
Whether you’re interested in goal setting, strategic planning, giving your monthly giving program a boost, or other fundraising topics in the coming year, take the time to plot your strategy out in real time using a calendar. While no plan is perfect and no year comes without surprises, entering the new year with a general outline will help you stay focused on your fundraising goals.