Yes, I am aware that January is almost over! My has it flown by. I still think it's relative for fundraisers to talk about making January an awesome month.
As a fundraiser, January has always been an interesting month. In most of my positions I have breathed a sigh of relief in early January or been devastated by a failed end of year effort. In some cases I have been able to create a quite strong fundraising month in January based on rigorous efforts and relationship-building in December.
At my current agency we run a fiscal year that goes from October to September. No craziness in December as far as making budget but we still rock it due to it being an important month of giving for our donors.
So what do we do in January? Regardless of whether this is the start of your fiscal year or in the middle, all of these suggestions could help:
Make sure every donor from December has been thanked.
Make sure all of your recurring monthly donors have a received a letter telling them the total amount of their giving for the past year.
Personally call all of your major donors and thank them for donating last year.
(At this point you might be seeing a pattern. Basically, are you in relationship with your donors, do they know that, and are you in a position to continue that relationship this year.)
Send a year-end review to your Board of Directors. Let them know five or six highlights of the past year and a couple of things that surprised you.
If this is something that you can do, send the same type of email to the entire staff.
Meet individually with your team members and talk about how you want to rock it with them in the next couple of months. Be prepared.
Learning. Yes, most of us have a lot to learn. Hold a training for your team.Go to a training. Create a "101" for folks you lead.
Finally, it's important to not give up on lapsed donors from last year. You've run the numbers and you see that your donor retention rate was not that good. Just because you are in a new year doesn't mean you need (or should) give up. Create a plan to engage with those donors.
Let's make January an incredible month!
Thanks for reading!