I’m not the biggest fan in the world of roller coasters. I like them just fine, just not going out of my way to find them. And by far the worst part of the ride is that slow ascent. The “click clack, click clack…” of slow, steady process, with the future completely unknown and the ground slipping away is just a recipe for anxiety and apprehension.
This time of year can feel a lot like that. School is back in session, summer is fading into fall, and the remaining year’s calendar is beginning to fill up with the rush of holidays (and all the parties, commitments and obligations they bring with them) leading to the end of the year.
But as long as the safety bar is already down and we’re not getting off the ride, we might as well take a look back and use what we learn to formulate a plan so we can enjoy the upcoming rush.
Step 1 – Take a look back
I know it’s not the end of the year yet, but now is the perfect time to look back at what you’ve done so far and measure it’s impact. Donor Engagement is a year-round cycle, and just like your calendar is filing up, so is the schedule of the people you want to reach the most. So have they been engaged already? What was the outcome? Now’s the time for a quick phone call, email or coffee
And how do the efforts you’ve done so far this year, measured against expectations and goals. Do you need to readjust 4th quarter goals and efforts? Do you have the reporting tools you need to know?
Step 2 – Manage Expectations
What is the plan for the 4th quarter? How do you present your cause to donors in the context of holidays, Giving Tuesday and Year-End appeals? Given where you’ve been, and how step 1 went, what needs to be adjusted?
Also; if there’s major changes, good or bad, now is the time to let your team and those you report to know. New Year surprises should be limited to bad resolutions and gym membership bills, and by getting out in front of any issues, you can develop a team plan for addressing them.
This is also a great time to see what you can do to change up the end of year rush with new ideas. Add a Peer-to-Peer appeal to an event, make a few raffle prizes available online before a gala. Add new ideas to refresh your standard way of doing things.
Step 3 – Enjoy the Ride!
Too often we get caught up in checking off boxes, and loosing the joy of an event in the 1000 details it takes to have the event. Make sure you keep yourself open to actually enjoying family, friends, the season and everything that comes with it.