Donald knew all too well what his month was going to look like. BUSY! He felt like summer had just started. The reality? Summer was over and he was deep into the busy fall season. His frustration? He didn’t have enough time for calls, visits, reports, meetings, and more. His biggest frustration? He felt busier than ever, but did not feel like he was accomplishing any goals. How can he count the last few months of the year as a win?

Your 4th quarter (October, November, December) should be your busiest, yet best work. Here’s why. People who love your organization will want to hear from you. If the people really “feel the love” from your non-profit, they will give you their year-end gifts. How do you make this happen?

  • Plan. Summer is a great time to strategize for 4th quarter, but if you haven’t done so, getting a strategy now is better than having none at all.
  • Measurements. What are you being measured by? If you’re leading the organization, what does the board want to see? If you’re leading advancement or development, what measures your success? Build your strategy with the goal in mind first, and then work backward to design it.
  • Cultivate. I am going to say it again, cultivate! Your donors need to hear from you! Stop procrastinating and make those calls.Ask. The best practice is to plan your cultivation throughout the year for your 4th quarter asks. If not, you will struggle. If you haven’t planned - don’t fret, just continue to pay attention to your donors.
  • Thank. Thanking your donors sincerely, (not just in a receipt) is important for continued support. Part of your strategy is thanking all the major donors, personally, in 4th quarter (and into January). A simple hand-written note (or other creative ways) to acknowledge your gratefulness works wonders in keeping that donor relationship strong.

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