What is your fundraising “red zone?”

With less than 45 days to make or succeed your fundraising goal, it’s time to put a “red zone” plan of action in place.

What is your fundraising “red zone?”In football the red zone is the most difficult time to score. You are down to the last 20 yards. Things are difficult and intense. This is not time for the “ten yard by ten yard” standardized process. You are close, but you need to put all forces into play to score. The rest of the game doesn’t have to be as intense and strategic, but this is the do or die zone.

Likewise, the last 45 days in a fundraising campaign can be the most difficult. You know you have to meet your fundraising goal. But what is your plan? Will you go on automatic, doing what you did last year and the year before?  Sometimes that works, but not always. We offer an alternative:  mobilize all your volunteers and staff and use a specific plan for this red zone.

Here are 15 suggestions to get you focused on your red zone fundraising:

  1. Define your goal: how much do you need to raise by December 31?
  2. Define your “why” – what will be different when you meet your goal?
  3. What is your fundraising “red zone?”Know who you are targeting for gifts at specific levels. Use accurate data from your database. Don’t pull numbers out of the hat.
  4. Prioritize your “qualified” prospects.
  5. Analyze your lapsed donors.
  6. Determine who you need to solicit by when.
  7. Assign a solicitor to each prospective donor.
  8. Know your impact players and place them where their solicitation will have the biggest effect on your bottom line.
  9. Define which solicitation methods will be used by each member of your team. Who is having in-person meetings?  Who is working social media? Who is building viral online campaigns? Who is on the phone? Who is managing your direct mail?
  10. Determine who will be “assisting.” Who will prepare solicitors, create talking points, make follow up calls, drive social media, send out thank you messages?
  11. What is your fundraising “red zone?”Huddle your team. Bring together your staff and volunteers. Call the plays: who will solicit who? When will people take action? When will they report back their results? Make sure each solicitor knows who on staff is ready to assist.
  12. Motivate your team with reminders of the value of your nonprofits work.
  13. Create awareness for your fundraising by sharing information about your organization through local media, social media, billboards, radio, and word of mouth. You want your donors ready to say “yes” when they are solicited.
  14. Report progress every three days: every day if you can. Be ready to make immediate announcements when you receive a big gift.
  15. Put your plan into action.

Teamwork and urgency that is driven by strategy will get you across the line. Use all your resources. Yearend giving is about more than a phone call or letter. Everyone will have an assignment and together you will get the ball across the goal line.


Don’t forget:


Copyright 2019 – Mel and Pearl Shaw

When you are ready to build a fund development program, grow your fundraising, or increase board engagement we are here to help. (901) 522-8727. www.saadandshaw.com.

Image courtesy of 123RF.com.

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