So, after months of work and planning, your fundraising effort is over. The gala had good attendance and everyone went home with a smile. The walk had hundreds of participants who left with their T-shirts and swag bags. The annual appeal was mailed out to thousands of potential donors. Money is coming in to help pay your bills for the next year of providing services to your constituents. It’s been a long haul and the first thing you want to do is take a break and have a few days off.
Now is the time when the work really needs to be done. It is vital that you get all your ducks in row and start doing some important work.
You need to get all the donor information updated in your donor database. If people are new donors, you want to make sure the names are spelled correctly and the contact information is correct. Donors get upset if there are mistakes and it makes you look unprofessional. Double check the email addresses and phone numbers are entered correctly so you can reach the participants in the near future. Make sure the email addresses have the correct suffices, otherwise future emails will bounce. Don’t do these things haphazardly.
You need to get all your donation acknowledgements and personalized thank you notes mailed. Include the amount given to the organization and the tax ID for the organization in the acknowledgement so the donor has the information for their tax records. In the thank you notes, include the information about the amount sent, as well as something personal to individualize the note so the donor doesn’t just feel that they are receiving a form letter. You need to get these things out quickly, within two to three days of your event. They will strengthen the relationships with your new donors and will help keep their doors open for future communications.
Meet with your staff and Board or committee members and evaluate your efforts while memories are fresh. Find out what the highlights so they can be repeated in the future. Discover what the low points or problems were so they can be eliminated the next time. Take notes of everyone’s comments.
Finally, when all these things have been done, take some time to relax. Spend some down time with friends and family. Go for a run or work out and take long hot bath. You finally deserve that,
Fundraising can be hard work. Just because the project or event is over, the important work isn’t. If you take your time off too soon, all that hard work could be wasted.