Every year, your nonprofit bends over backwards to pay the bills and support your mission. You work hard to raise funds the people you support need desperately, or that your cause is begging for. And chances are that December is your big month—the one that promises to make or break you. You’re in the thick of the fundraising month that lets your nonprofit thrive for at least twelve more.
But wouldn’t it be nice if your nonprofit didn’t lean on your year-end holiday appeal like a crutch? Don’t you want your nonprofit to be financially secure all year long? It sure would help your team focus on your cause and not the numbers. So why aren’t you looking for ways to make that happen? The goal is a consistent stream of income, and we want to help you get there.
Stop thinking of January through November as your nonprofit’s fundraising off-season. Write down every promotion your nonprofit has in the works for 2012. In creating this nonprofit promotions calendar, be creative about what constitutes a promotion for your nonprofit. Include fundraising events, speaking engagements, mailings, deadlines for grant applications and even foundation visits. Get it all out there. You need to see it.
Writing down everything promotions-related on your nonprofit fundraising calendar is important because you need to visualize this year. Identify the weeks when your nonprofit has little to no promotional activity planned. These are the times to fill with unique fundraising initiatives, rev up your email marketing campaign or invest time in social media fundraising. When you add nonprofit promotions to slow times throughout the year, your year-end fundraising appeal will be but a cherry atop a very big, very lucrative year.
Keep at that promotional calendar. Look at each promotion more closely after assessing the days in your calendar when fundraising efforts are lacking. If any of your promotions are repeats, add to your calendar the amount your nonprofit invested and raised in previous years. If you’re not getting a big return, cut that money-bleeding promotion and replace it with a more fruitful fundraiser. Fundraisers drain staff and volunteers’ time. Use it wisely this year.
Many nonprofits get stuck in a lackluster fundraising cycle—they repeat promotions for the sake of tradition. Longtime donors won’t stop supporting you because you replace a fiscally inefficient fundraiser with one that works. Additionally—and this may sound harsh—don’t get so caught up in the people involved with your nonprofit that you’re running more friendraisers than fundraisers. You need money. That’s the bottom line. Raise more funds by keeping friendraisers at an absolute minimum.
2012 can be your best year yet. Make it the year that the year-end returns are just bonus money. What gaps do you see in your nonprofit’s 2012 promotional calendar? How will you promote your nonprofit so those periods become donation-rich?