Is my annual fund already behind for 2018?

I know that right now your mind is racing as you start to wrap up your 2017 fiscal year.  The last few weeks of the year can be truly challenging as you work feverishly to get as many gifts in as you can.

Between my husband (who used to work as an annual fund officer for a local college) and my work with colleges and universities, I get how demanding those last few weeks of the fiscal year can be.  It’s all hands on deck, around the clock.  I also know that as soon as that year is over, everyone is beyond ready to take a week or two off to clear their mind and unwind a bit.

Unfortunately, focusing too much on that end of fiscal year deadline or taking a few weeks for some rest and relaxation will negatively impact the start to 2018.  If you delay spending time focusing on what your strategy needs to be for next year, you will be creating a cyclical dilemma that nobody wants to find themselves in – always starting too late in the game, and always playing catch up!

Now is the time to get serious about how to attack the 2018 campaign.  Here are some tips to help you stay on track.  Right now you should be working on:

  • Analyzing 2017 initiatives – what tactics did you try in 2017?  How well did they work?  Which segments responded?  Now is the time to start looking at the hard numbers to see how well your initiatives worked together.
  • Evaluating which channels to utilize in 2018 – based on your results analysis of 2017, and how well (or not so well) your fundraising mix performed, you need to begin outlining which channels work well together, and for which segments.  Young alumni, for example, tend to respond to channels that Baby Boomers may not.
  • Developing your fundraising calendar – now is the time to outline when and how you want each communication to be sent.  It’s critical to ensure that all of your elements are working together strategically to create the most impact.
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