President's Perspective Blog

Mike's Monday Message: Your Year-End Fundraising Reminders

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As we enter December, the fundraising profession concludes its National Philanthropy Day and GivingTuesday celebrations and begins, for most of us, the busiest time of the year.

Your final year-end plans, messages and giving campaigns are in place and, if not implemented already, are soon to be launched. 

I don’t think there’s any particular sage fundraising advice I could deliver at this time that you haven’t heard already. So instead, I thought I’d provide just a couple of quick, but important, reminders.

First, and most importantly, take care of yourself. Yes, we are in the business of improving the quality of life in our communities and often changing (and sometimes even saving!) lives. Yes, that’s noble and important work, no doubt about it. 

But no cause is worth your health, and you can’t perform your job and your responsibilities effectively if you aren’t in good physical, mental and emotional health. 

This issue has become very prevalent for fundraisers. When respondents were asked in our latest Fundraising Confidence Survey what was their current fundraising goals, the most popular responses related to lack of staff and human resources, as well as burnout. 

So, give time and space to yourself, and be sure you have strong family, friend and colleague connections and support available. They can make all the difference. 

Second, remember that, in general, the fundraising landscape is solid right now. So much research, from the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy’s Fundraising Effectiveness Project to the Blackbaud Giving Index, shows that giving continues to be up across the board for most types of organizations. 

In addition, initial data points to total giving of $2.7 billion on GivingTuesday this year, up 9.0% from last year’s GivingTuesday totals.

Plus, our Fundraising Confidence Survey found many of you increasingly optimistic about reaching your fundraising goals in 2021 and raising more money this year than you did in 2020. Not surprisingly, confidence levels are higher than they’ve been over the past couple of years. And slowly but surely, more organizations are hiring fundraising staff (one of the indicators we often check to see how charities are faring in their fundraising and their optimism toward the future).

Of course, every organization is in a different situation, and we know full well the environment can change rapidly (I’m doing everything I can not to mention a certain COVID-19 variant).

But here’s the most important thing to remember (And sorry, I changed my mind. I am going to give you a piece of advice!). I’ve written this before, and I’ll likely write it again: From all the surveys we’ve done and from members I’ve talked to, the most important factor in your fundraising success is you. Your decisions. Your strategy. Your tactics. Your ideas. External factors can have an impact, but the biggest influence on success is you.

You’ve done the planning. You’ve done your due diligence. You’ve gotten your training and skills from your AFP fundraising community. (And if you need any more ideas and resources, AFP Global, our chapters and our website resources are always available.) 

Now’s the time to go for it!

It’s not necessarily going to be easy. There’s a lot to remember. There will be so many moving parts. But you’ve got this. This is what fundraising is all about. This is our time—our time to remind the world why fundraising is the IMPACT profession. Because we create the impact that changes the world.

Good luck with your year-end fundraising, and be sure to take some time for yourself! 

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