Updated: Jun 29
For those of us who looked forward to the first day of school… fresh notebooks, the prospect of new friends, a clear desk, and (maybe) new shoes… The start of the fiscal year is met with that
same enthusiasm. In this last week of FY22, there are some quick wrap-up steps to be taken before we launch into July and a new year of the science of fundraising.
Of course… there are commitments we have made that will carry into the new year. Hopefully, event planning has commenced, and sponsorship renewals are already in the queue. Committees might be set - or your Board and volunteers may be taking a summer break. In any case, the start of the new year is an opportunity to review plans and strategies, check your last year's successes, and take a deep breath before the cycle starts again.
The start of the fiscal year can be a quieter fundraising season - but that doesn't mean that there's nothing to be done (or none to be seen).
As we welcome the new calendar year we sing of Auld Lang Syne (or some of us do) as Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal explained in "When Harry Met Sally," this is a song about old friends and how we shouldn't forget them even as we make new friends. In fundraising, we should use the fiscal year as an opportunity to reach out to our "old friends" - lapsed donors. Start the donor cycle quickly - share a sense of urgency around a summer project - if you are able to capture a gift now you may be able to renew them at the traditional year-end as well.
Review contracts early in the fiscal year to make sure that they are reflected in your budget but also to assure that you will be able to plan before the busier event season and December (the majority of gifts will arrive then!). Who are the outside contractors that you have on retainer or plan to bring in this year? Even if it is not time for contract renewal, this is an excellent time to review expectations and commitments. Have you used all the hours/services that you included in your last consultant negotiations? Are all of your special event dates confirmed with your regular photographer?
Take your strategic plan off the shelf! Make sure that there are tactics assigned to the outcomes you want to see in this new year.
Review technology and software needs. Is this the year to make a change to your CRM? Is your database ready for a wealth screen?
Take time to sit with your staff so that everyone starts the new fiscal year with a shared sense of enthusiasm and purpose. Have you fallen behind on regular one-on-one meetings? Were there any surprises in year-end performance reviews? Take time in the summer to listen to your staff so that you can approach the next busy season with shared expectations (and recommit to meeting weekly).
Schedule the use of PTO (and maybe even take some time off now). If your organization is anything like the ones in which I've spent the last 20 years, you have unused PTO. Plan to avoid burnout by making sure you schedule your time away from the office. Put your birthday or another day that's important to you on the PTO calendar now - and then look forward to a day when you turn off notifications! Set expectations with your team that they will also plan to use their accrued time; scheduling ahead means you can have the difficult conversations about who handles year-end gift calls - and who needs to be on hand for your smaller events - now rather than in the heat of the moment.
Edit your standard acknowledgment letters. Take a deep breath and re-read the letter that every one of your donors receives. Is it time to refresh the language? Do you have a new story to share? And while you're thinking about acknowledgments - is there someone who needs a special thank you for their support? Has routine and the busy party got in the way of making that gesture? It's never too late!
Start planning for year-end giving. Did you know (according to nonprofit hub) that over 1/3 of annual giving comes in December? Don't wait until December to start thinking about this important outreach!
There's a lot to pack into the start of the fiscal year … don't forget to toast the success of the year gone by too.
How else will you kick off the new fiscal year?
Do you see gaps where a consultant might be helpful? Team Kat & Mouse has the expertise that we can bring to your organization - helping you shorten your list and providing support in the areas that may seem overwhelming.