Get ahead of the curve

Yes, its time to focus on yearend giving at work, and to celebrate with friends and family after hours. BUT…. let us suggest you find some time for pre-2019 strategy to get you ahead of the curve.

Get ahead of the curveNext year doesn’t have to be like this year. If this was your best year, take time to grow that success in 2019. If things weren’t exactly as good as you wanted, take the time to plan for a new year that can yield different results. Here are five suggestions you can implement now. Make some hot chocolate, bring some cookies to the table and get to work.

  1. Pull together your leadership – that’s board members, CEO or executive director, chief finance person, program leaders, and development / fundraising team. Pour your hot chocolate and lay the questions on the table. What are we “selling” in 2019? Are we going to lead with our need for operating support? Will we add new programs? Is an endowment in the cards? Should we be laying the foundation for a capital campaign?
  2. Get out of automatic. Ask each person assembled what worked well and what didn’t. Ask for ideas on how to do things different. What could be modified or perhaps turned upside down? Do you have a schedule of activities you follow year after year? Maybe you could test a new method, or change up the schedule. If you have a plan but never manage to implement it, be honest about why. Ask for help. Brainstorm accountability methods that will work for your organization. Take a reality check: is it even feasible to implement your plan? Is it really a plan, or is it a wish list?
  3. Go beyond your annual fundraising. Yes, you have to raise the funds you need for operations. But go beyond that. Try a small campaign – in addition to your annual campaign – that is designed to be exciting. Be intentional in thinking about what could create excitement amongst those who give to your nonprofit, and those who have not yet given.
  4. After the hot chocolate and cookies. Reflect on your leadership meeting. Read what you have written down. (What? You didn’t take notes?!?!? – that might be one of your “challenges” right there!). Condense your thoughts for 2019 into a few bullet points. Pick up the phone and get a “quick minute” with five diverse major donors. Try this: “I need your expertise. Can you give me 15 minutes?” Ask each person what they think can make your organization stronger in 2019. Share your bulleted list, also known now as your “talking points.” Ask, “what do you think? Will these ideas work?” Then listen. When 15 minutes is up, say “thank you.”
  5. Revise your plan for 2019 based on these conversations. Look at your 2019 calendar and block out specific dates and times for achieving defined goals and for check-in meetings. When you return to work in 2019 you will have a few goals in place and get your team into action.

Copyright 2018 – Mel and Pearl Shaw

For help growing your fundraising – and planning for 2019 – call us at (901) 522-8727 or visit

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