With the new year in full swing, many of us are busy pursuing new goals. We have cast our vision for what we want to accomplish, and we are ready to go. Or so we think! Here are our words of caution. Before you get too steeped in planning for the new year, take time to look back and review the promises you made to your constituency and evaluate the extent to which you have delivered, or will deliver.
We recommend identifying – or creating a list – of promises made last year and assessing how your organization has delivered on them. For those areas where you met the goal, ask yourself, “have we shared the results with our constituents?” If you haven’t shared results, decide how and when you will. That could entail personal phone calls; a report to funders; correspondence to individual donors; and/or social media posts, a newsletter, or story picked up by the media.
If you find there are promises not yet fulfilled, assess what happened. Did the promises become irrelevant or unfulfillable due to changes in your community, lack of funds, decreased staffing, or a change in what was most pressing? Will some promises continue into the new year? Were some things put on hold with the intent to launch this year? In all cases we suggest determining next steps and communicating your work, decisions, and what was learned your constituency.
Here are three areas rich with “promises” your organization may have made.
What impact did you make and how does that compare to what you had anticipated or “promised?” If you had planned to launch new programs, or expand existing ones, did this happen? Related to this, were you able to advance any planned capital improvements? Are you still in the planning stage or are these in motion? Have costs increased or decreased? Timeframes changed? Purpose changed? Who have you shared this information with?
Remember to assess your financial position and fundraising. Were you able to secure the funds you needed to execute on your mission and vision? Did you meet your fundraising goal? Were you over? Under? Would you have met goal without any special unanticipated grants or funding related to the pandemic? Did your donor base expand or contract? Did the size of your average gift increase or decrease? Has your endowment grown either as a result of investment strategies and decisions or new gifts? If you had anticipated cost reductions, including reductions in staff, did you actually make those reductions? What was the impact? Did unexpected grants or gifts mean you didn’t need to make cuts? Again, who have you communicated this with?
Did you have goals or projects around branding, communications, and engagement? If so, what happened? Do more people know about your organization? In terms of internal engagement, were you able to provide professional development for staff and board members as anticipated?
Delivering on your promise is at the heart of trust, and trust is at the heart of fundraising.
[Copyright 2022 – Mel and Pearl Shaw of Saad&Shaw – Comprehensive Fund Development Services. Video and phone conferencing services always available. Let us help you grow your fundraising in 2022. Call us at (901) 522-8727. www.saadandshaw.com.]