How to Kick Off the 2021 Fiscal Year Strong

September 4, 2020
in Blog, Business Management, Fundraising, Marketing

Many organizations are kicking off their new fiscal year in a way they’ve never imagined. Budget cuts, staff cuts, decline in prospects with the propensity to give – the list goes on and on. Regardless of the challenges before you, goals still have to be met, funds still have to be raised, and key initiatives still have to be completed.

Here are some things your organization can do to get your fiscal year off to a solid start!

Outline your 2021 objectives

This may sound simple, but it’s so important. Determine where you need to be by the end of this fiscal year. This should include total dollar goals, participation goals, capital project progress, etc.


Evaluate your current donor and prospect base

Now more than ever we need to focus on donor data. Identify those who are likely to make a contribution, who has the potential to make a contribution, and who doesn’t. By mining your data, you can avoid spending money on lifetime non-donors and utilize the dollars to target those prospects who have higher propensity to give. Some key areas to look at:

  • Have they given in the past? Identify who your lapsed donors are and begin outlining who should be at the top of the list for an outreach.
  • Are the prospects engaged? Maybe they haven’t made a gift, but they’re engaged with you (either via e-mail, social media, virtual events, etc). Identify who those prospects are and consider developing a specific outreach strategy.
  • How many times have you reached out to them? There is a difference between communicating organizational updates regularly vs. once or twice a year. Take a look at your solicitation calendar and calculate how many times you’ve reached out to your prospective donors. Chances are it’s not as often as you think. Make sure to include a mix of ‘good will’ updates and hard asks.


Develop a stewardship program

According to Blackbaud, it typically costs six to seven times more to acquire a new donor than it costs to retain current donors. Some tips for a solid stewardship program include:

  • Keep your donors informed on how their gift makes an impact on your organization – the more specific the examples, the better.
  • Identify why they give and integrate customized communication so they know you understand who they are and why they are tied to your organization.
  • Develop a specialized thank you process for first-time donors. Studies have shown that only 20-25% of first-time donors make a second gift. The likelihood of that donor making a third gift jumps to over 60% after that second gift has been made.
Here are some free tools you can use to get your fundraising plan started for 2021!
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