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September 4, 2019 Mark Mangin

Are You Ready for the 4th Quarter?

It can be hard to think ahead to the fall when it feels like warm weather has just arrived. But planning ahead now can put you into a much better situation when you are at your busiest this fall. Here are a few tips to set you up for success this giving season!

GIFT PROCESSING

Implementation for Interpretation: Not only is it critical to implement detailed appeal codes and digital tracking across every effort you are executing this season, but it is just as vital to understand those letters and numbers when the gifts come pouring in. Accurately interpreting the results is critical to being able to share with your supporters the outcome of all the work you accomplished—and figuring out where there is room for improvement.

Finders, Keepers: If your fall campaign has a new donor acquisition component, then the Finder File is just what you need! Finder files are provided by the list vendor and helps you keep rented and exchanged names and addresses separate from your house file until those recipients make a donation. This can make the cumbersome but important work of entering newly acquired donor information a much less time-consuming and more accurate process.

Extra Hands: Sorting, opening, and processing thousands of gifts each week sounds like a daunting task, and you’re probably wondering how to get it done with your current gift processing staff. Consider hiring some additional temporary staff. They can provide the necessary manpower to help you during this high-volume time. And processing those gifts more quickly means you can thank your supporters sooner. The sooner you thank your new donors, the more likely they will be to continue supporting your organization for years to come!

CHECK YOUR PERFORMANCE

Monitor health: With the enormous expectation for this season, it is vital to monitor your donor health and income numbers regularly. Staying on top of your digital campaign performance on a weekly basis is key to your ability to act in real time to adjust what isn’t working—or to double-down on what is! This is a key component of what makes direct response fundraising work!

Know your history: Are you on pace to have a record-setting year? Knowing where you stand against previous years’ performance can help you figure out where you are likely to end the year. And knowing in advance can be key to being able to make any necessary changes to your fundraising plan while there is still time.

Give the extra effort! Midnight on December 31 is already a giving deadline in the minds of your donors, but an extra jolt is recommended as you approach that most successful day. An extra email communication, social media post, text, or phone call can make a huge impact to move the needle before the turn of the year.

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