Happy New Year! Is Your Development Operation Ready for 2015?

Happy New Year! Is Your Development Operation Ready for 2015?

January 07, 2015 by jga_admin

It is hard for me to believe that it is 2015. It just feels that time is moving faster and faster. We can’t do anything to slow down the calendar, but you can spend some time now to help position yourself and your development operation for a great 2015.

December is generally crazy with trying to get year-end gifts in the door and accounted for, so January is a great time to sit down and reflect on the past year but more importantly to look towards the next year and map out the key objectives that you want to accomplish.

Depending on your responsibility there are some key areas to look at for the upcoming year:

Frontline fundraisers

  • Review your portfolio.
    • Do you have the right mix of donors and prospects?
    • Are there names that should be moved to someone else on the team – either up to the president, down to more of a discovery position, or removed from management all together?
    • Readjusting portfolios can be a very difficult exercise. Gift officers are very protective of their relationships so it is important to remember these are not “your donors,” but donors to the organization. Rebalancing your portfolio, may be what’s best for the organization, helping you be more efficient and productive.
    • It is important to get your portfolio to a manageable number that you can really engage with over the next year. It is not a contest to see who has the biggest portfolio. Instead it should be about seeing the right people and having productive conversations that can result in gifts to the organization.
  • Review your personal visits for the past year and map out the next six months.
    • How did you do compared to your goals for the previous year or six months?
    • Did you hit your metrics on the number of personal visits, solicitations made, and number of prospects that you have moved up to a solicitation stage?
    • If you did – that is great and keep it up moving forward. If not – take a hard look and discover why you didn’t hit your numbers. Map out a plan to hit your marks moving forward and start setting up appointments.
    • Plan out key trips that you want to take over the next 6 months and get the time held on your calendar. Identify key prospects and start building trips around their location. You might not be able to start setting up appointments for all of them yet, but at least you can have a plan for moving forward.

Annual Fund Officers

  • Review your prior year's plan.
    • How did you do on hitting your mailing calendar?
    • Calculate the ROI on each of your mailings – what worked well and what didn’t hit the mark?
    • Develop a list of new things to try or adjust moving forward.
    • Map out your activity for the next six months – when will mailings hit and what are the deadlines around each mailing?

Development Services

  • What worked well and what were struggles over the past year?
      • Were there bottle necks that occurred? If so, how can we avoid those moving forward?
      • Are there processes and procedures that need to be updated and documented?
  • Set a plan.
    • Map out key activities that you want to get accomplished.
    • Be proactive and meet with the major gift staff to see where they will be traveling and what information they might need.
    • Meet with the special events staff and get a feeling for the upcoming events and what information they will need.
    • Set aside time to do proactive research on new prospects.

Everyone is moving fast and sometimes planning can be the thing that we push aside. Use January to map out the next six months and share your plans with the rest of the team so that everyone is on the same page. This also allows you to maximize everyone’s efforts and find areas where you can coordinate activities.

Taking an inventory of your past activities and mapping out your future activities does take time, but the spent now will help keep you on track moving forward and maximize everyone’s efforts moving forward.

Have a wonderful 2015 and good luck in moving the mission of your organization forward.