Do you have trouble getting your sponsors to sign on the bottom line?
Planning a fundraising event is challenging and time-consuming. You need a minimum of six months to plan an event (yes, I know it can be done in less, but it begins to get ugly if you have less time than that) and, ideally, nine months or more.
Lining up sponsorship commitments is usually something you do early in the process because that way, you can offer your sponsors maximum benefits—they can be in all of the pre-event publicity like participant registration or ticket sales and event promotional materials.
What if your sponsors delay making their commitment decisions?
In a recently concluded survey of 1200 fundraisers, Gail Perry of Fired Up Fundraising asked “What Keeps 1200 Fundraisers Up at Night?” The answers were almost all were management related, painting a picture of pretty unpleasant places for many fundraisers to work.
With the average tenure of Directors of Development now being less than two years and major gift officers being sixteen months according to a Nonprofit Times article out earlier this week, it seems fundraisers have good reasons for imitating the Runaway Bride, bolting out the door at the thought of making a long-term commitment to the organizations they serve.
In Gail’s survey, fundraisers mentioned too much to do, too little assistance, too little support from management, confusion about priorities, changing priorities or changing goals mid-year, and an absence of a coordinated fundraising plan. Yuck!
No wonder we’re unhappy with 57% of us planning to leave our current positions and 40% of us contemplating exiting the development profession altogether, according to Compasspoint’s oft-cited Underdeveloped: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising. study.
A FUNDRAISING PROGRAM’S SECRET INGREDIENT: A PLAN
In fundraising, there is no silver bullet, no pixie dust to sprinkle, no incantation to chant and the only potion I’ve ever known anyone to brew entailed a strong portion of tequila. I own two wands, both pink and sporting Disney princesses, but I suspect neither contains any actual magical properties. Fundraising is about relationship building, hard work, and a good plan.
In fact, according to the Third Space Studio, it’s a whole lot more about the plan than we may have realized in the past.
In the nonprofit sector, we nonprofit professionals apply for positions in the nonprofit sector. We have experience with nonprofit jobs. Because we’re nonprofit professionals with nonprofit experience, applying for nonprofit jobs, we assume that the people who are reviewing our resumes understand what our titles and positions mean and entail. They don’t. Even if we list our accomplishments, they don’t get it. Too often, board members are hiring or sitting on the search committees that hire us. Those board members are almost always business people who don’t understand what’s involved in our jobs.
This Saturday is Christmas in July. Santa might not be coming, but there are great sales everywhere and some retailers are even trying to get people thinking ahead to the holiday season which, if you’re a fundraiser, is a really good idea. If you haven’t already begun planning for the end of the year, now is the time to get started.
It’s four months until Giving Tuesday and five months until the close of the fiscal year.
For fundraisers and other nonprofit professionals, the summer months are often slow. Donors, board members, and other colleagues head out for vacations. It becomes difficult to hold committee meetings and get things accomplished. One board of directors I used to work with met monthly all year-long except in the months of July and December—December because of the long holiday break and July because they recognized that practically everyone was on vacation.
So how can you make the most of this summer slow down? Here are 12 things you can do while the office is quieter during the summer months: