Your Development Plan:  Time for a Check-Up

About this time every year, I receive a reminder from my health insurance company to go have a series of blood tests and health screenings. For years, I’ve grumbled about going. Every year, they tell me the same thing:  you need to lose weight, eat healthy, and exercise more.

After I go through these screenings, I always get a phone call from someone with a chipper voice who tells me she is going to be my health coach.  It always feels very invasive to me so I always say “No, thank you.”

But last year’s experience has helped change my tune.  Last year, these routine tests probably saved my husband’s life.  He had one result that was way off, way out of line with normal.  Follow-up tests revealed a problem that, undetected and untreated, would have eventually killed him.  Instead, routine surgery took care of the problem and all is well once-again.

So now, we’re grateful for those mid-year health tests (though I still don’t want the chipper stranger calling to give me pep talks).

At this point in the year, you’re six months in—half way to the end of the fiscal year for most of you. Now is the perfect time to take a good hard look at your fundraising results to-date and to check them against your development plan goals.  Anything way off? Do you need to double-down on any of your year’s remaining strategies or is the plan still pretty much on-pace? 

It’s a challenge for those of us who work in nonprofits because our revenue plans are very skewed toward the end of the year—so much of what we bring in comes in during 4th quarter.  It’s hard to know whether or not we’re off course earlier in the year.  Try looking at the percent of your revenue that you’ve historically brought in by this point in the year in the last 3 years.  Then, calculate the percent of revenue you have brought in YTD of your fundraising plan.  If you normally bring in 35% of your revenue in the first 6 months of the year and you’ve so far brought in 35% of your development plan (or more), you’re probably on-track.  If you haven’t already brought in at least 35% of your revenue, though, you’re probably behind and need to determine how to double-up your efforts moving forward. Make sense?

Writing a fundraising plan for the year is great, but if you’re not following it or allowing it to guide you and help you to keep you on track in your development journey for the year you’re not getting maximum value from it.

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