7 Tips for Beginning a New Fiscal Year

Posted on 06/30/2019

For those who work in annual giving, things are always moving. There’s always an upcoming appeal to produce, another phone call to make, or a thank you note to write. There’s always a prospect who has yet to connect (or reconnect) with your institution. There are always reports to run, pledgers to remind, and volunteers to support.

Even though the annual fund doesn’t stop, it’s important to pause now and then in order to hit the reset button. And there’s no better time to do that than at the beginning of a new fiscal year. With each cycle comes the opportunity to make a fresh start. And while there will likely be big things you’ll want to accomplish in the months ahead, it’s often the little things you do in the first week or two of a new fiscal year that can really set the tone for a successful campaign.

So, before you close the books and head out for that well-deserved summer vacation, here are 7 small – but significant – things you can do to get the new year started on the right note.

  1. Take a moment to let your colleagues in advancement services know how much you appreciate their help and support throughout the year. Bring them bagels and coffee one morning. They entered a lot of data and processed a lot of gifts to complete the cycle of your appeal efforts.
  2. Reach out to a few peer institutions to find out how they did in donors and dollars compared to the year before. Ask each to share a success and a failure from the past 12 months. Offer the same in return.
  3. Call at least five of your most committed volunteers. Let them be the first to hear the year’s final results. They’ll appreciate the inside scoop.
  4. Send handwritten thank you notes to your top ten leadership donors. Make sure they know that they are among the relative few who provide a large portion of the annual fund’s total support.
  5. Calculate the ROI (total revenue – expenses / expenses) for your phonathon and direct mail program. Think of ways you can improve each next year. Share them with your boss.
  6. Put together a simple email to all of your alumni and donors wishing them a “Happy New Year!” In it, highlight a few of the exciting things that happened on campus as a result of annual giving. Check out BU’s postcard (below) for inspiration.
  7. If you haven’t already, get started on that annual fund plan. Remember that one of the secrets to annual giving success is to plan your work and work your plan.

When you find yourself at the beginning of a new fundraising year, be sure to stop. Take a break and clean the slate. Because when you come back, it starts all over again – and you’ll be ready.

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