Barbara L. Ciconte, CFRE, co-author of Fundraising Basics: A Complete Guide recommended the following 12 action steps for improving fundraising year-end results to attendees at a program at the Foundation Center in Washington, DC, on September 20, 2011:
1. Create a plan and a 3-month timeline for communication, cultivation, and solicitation activities.
2. Track results to date (dollars raised and number of donors).
3. Do an analysis of your donors to find out who your top donors are, where they live, what they give to and how they are asked (personal ask, letter, special event, online, etc.).
4. Host a donor briefing for major donors.
5. Use print or e-newsletters this fall, to report on results and outcomes, and tell stories about your work. Be sure to use photographs and testimonials.
6. Regularly update your homepage with a call to action and other engagement opportunities.
7. Conduct a "thank-a-thon" to donors who gave last year but have not yet given this year. Be sure to do this before they receive the year-end appeal.
8. Recognize and honor volunteers at an event and/or in newsletter articles, or by publicly listing their names. Provide information on how to volunteer.
9. Develop cultivation and solicitation strategies for key donors and funders. Schedule face-to-face meetings.
10. Plan a specific appeal strategy for each donor segment.
11. Use a multi-channel approach (e-mail, snail mail, and/or telemarketing). Leverage online donor support through viral marketing.
12. Hold a staff meeting to discuss how all staff play a role in building relationships with donors. Identify specific ways staff can help with fundraising that fits within their duties.
Last, but not least, Barbara strongly recommended that we all "Get Started Now!" What are you doing to increase giving to your organization during this last quarter of the year? Let us know!
To get started on your 2012 plan, consider attending the Foundation Center's free webinar or in-person class, Introduction to Fundraising Planning.