As we approach the midway point of the calendar year it is a good time to check on the status of the goals you set this year. Whether your organization follows a calendar year or July to June budget the month of June is a great time to be checking progress (calendar) or setting a new set of engagement and financial goals (July to June) to ensure that you will achieve the biggest possible impact.
Goals are critical to the future growth and impact of highly functioning development departments. An old adage in our business is “what gets measured is what gets done”. If your organization isn’t setting visit, pledge, legacy commitment and financial goals for your development staff then you will at best underperform and at worst never really know where you’re going from year to year. By implementing some of the following recommendations you will be on your way to creating a culture of accountability in your organization which will lead to increased financial and organizational success:
1. Set Goals at the Beginning of the Fiscal Year: Each solicitor should have a certain number of achievable goals that they should pursue over the next 12 months. Depending on the size of their caseload and historic performance they should have a specific dollar amount that they are trying to raise. In order to ensure they are tracking toward those financial goals it is also prudent to determine a minimum number of face to face visits with donors they will schedule. Finally, it is very forward thinking to establish pledge and planned gift goals. By doing so they will not only be working to achieve this year’s financial goals, they will also be developing relationships that will set your organization on a path for long term financial stability.
2. Develop Strategies for Each Major Donor: Depending on the size of your team and the size of their caseloads, set aside time at the beginning of the fiscal year discussing each major donor or prospect. Major gift fundraising is a very personal endeavor and not a cookie cutter process. Each donor has unique interests and earned their wealth in very specific ways. Each solicitor should tailor their strategy to the needs and interests of the donor and brainstorming those ideas with the team will help hone those strategies and perhaps inspire others as they listen to the conversations.
3. Check Your Progress: It would be a big mistake to go through a thoughtful process in creating strategies at the beginning of the year only to check on progress at the end of the year. Solicitors should, at the very least, meet with managers on a monthly basis for feedback on how solicitations are going. It can also be very helpful to meet with the entire team at the midway point of the fiscal year to have another strategy session. This is a very effective means of accountability for the team to ensure they have made meaningful contact with all of their donors. It can also be an opportunity to reconsider strategies and provide meaningful intelligence on projected income with enough time to make adjustments in those projections.