Keep your eyes on the year-end prize

Holiday gifts are not just ugly sweaters from Aunt Mabel. Development managers can log 30 to 50 percent of their yearly gifts during the last quarter of the year, said Dawn Mill of Zielinski Companies, based in St. Louis, Mo.

To prepare for the holiday giving rush, your organization needs to have a goal in mind, and it always needs to know how close it is to reaching that goal.

Miller, director of consulting, fund development services, presented a session on reaching your end-of-year fundraising goals during the recent National Catholic Development Conference (NCDC) 2014 conference in Chicago. She had some tips for keeping the finish line in sight.

Create a baseline of where development efforts stand for a number of segments: current donors (those who’ve given within 12 months); lapsed donors (those who haven’t given in the last 12 months); prospects; major donors and planned giving prospects; corporate funders; foundations; board members; any unique segments your organization has, such as parents or alumni

Run reports so that you can compare and contrast the past three to five years of giving by fiscal year trend line, calendar year trend line, and last quarter trend line. Look for outliers, like large one-time gifts and bequests.

Chart the results. Visual representations make the data easier to digest. Share the reports with your leadership team as part of an ongoing education process.