PRO TIP | Your October Fundraising Turn-Around Plan

publication date: Sep 28, 2022
author/source: Ann Rosenfield, MBA, CFRE

red maple leaves contrasted against a pale blue skyThis has not been the greatest year, especially with recent research showing that over 50% of Canadians have reduced the amount they are planning to give to charity. Never fear, you can still reach your target with these tips and some focused effort in October.

Run your LYBUNTs and SYBUNTs

This is a great time to run your "Last Year But Unfortunately Not This" and your "Some Year But Unfortunately Not This" year list. You are particularly interested in your top 20 donors. Your top 20 largest donors have the greatest capacity to help you make target. Review your list and determine an individual strategy to renew each one. This is a great activity to do the Friday of the long weekend in October when the office is quiet.

Check your budget projection

In addition to tracking the dollars you have raised, the number of donors, and the number of gifts (there should be more gifts than donors), do an estimate of what is your best case and worst case scenario of donations. If your worst case is less money then you need to make budget, it's time to brainstorm some new donors or different approaches. This is also a perfect activity to do on the Friday of the long weekend of October.

Steward, steward, steward

For your largest donors, develop a simple one-page impact report, personalize it with their name, and mail it to them in October. It doesn't need to be fancy and it should include photos. Just give them a few highlights of the financials of your organization and a couple of statistics along with a a photo or two. And mail to them. Why? Because you want to be sure they remember seeing it. We get so much email, that it is important to be multi-channel in your communications.

Pick up the phone

Speaking of multi-channel, whether it is Thanksgiving, Halloween, or some other October holiday, find a reason to call your top donors to thank them for their support and wish them "Happy __[fill in]." This will just be a short stewardship call, not an ask. You are calling to thank them. 

The best of the rest

If you have time, do an outreach to all your donors. Whether it's an eCard to celebrate an October holiday or awareness day relevant to your cause or a stewardship postcard, take the time to show your donors that their gift made a difference. In the case of smaller donors, you can emphasize how their gift, combined with the goodwill of other donors, has achieved collective success for your cause.

Plan your Giving Tuesday strategy

Whether you want to use Giving Tuesday as a way to ask for gifts or to steward donors, the time is now to plan your approach. Giving Tuesday is November 29 and there is a useful toolkit to help you get started right on their website.

Plant seeds for the future

Right now, CAGP is running their Will Power campaign to encourage more Canadians to leave a gift to a charity in their will. Even if you are short of time, start implementing some simple bequest promotions in your organization. It can be as simple as having a bequest giving ad in your eNewsletter or a tag line in your eSignature "Remember [charity] in your will or trust." Don't forget to mark your calendar to join Will Power next year.

By working on identifying key donors to renew and steward, and by planning Giving Tuesday in October, you will have set the groundwork for a successful November and December. Including some promotion on wills helps you to lay the seeds for more diverse revenue down the road. It's a win/win.

Ann Rosenfield, MBA, CFRE is the Chief Development Officer for Temple Sinai Congregation of Toronto. She plans to use all these tips this month.

Cover photo by Cole Keister on Unsplash

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