Annual fund coming up short? 3 actions you need to avoid.

Fundraising
Annual fund coming up short? 3 actions you need to avoid.

It’s the end of the fiscal year and you’re a few bucks short of your annual fund goal. The reserves are thin. What should you do to close the gap? Here are the top three things you should never do.

1. Send a mass email and post on social media that you must raise funds by year-end or bad things will happen.

Why: In order to have the Asking RightsTM necessary to successfully fundraise, prospective investors need to know that your organization has the ability to meet the goals you set, which includes successfully meeting your annual fund goals. When you send the message that you are having trouble financially, you make your organization a risky investment philanthropically. Those close to your organization might help but the damage is done. The negative impression will last long after the desperate tweet.

What to do instead: Know who your prospects are that have not given to your annual fund by the end of the first quarter. Start a plan six-months prior to year-end to ensure lapsed donors are stewarded, thanked, and ready for an ask prior to year-end. Always strive to have six month’s to a year’s worth of funds in the bank so year-end is never a panic over whether you will close your doors or not.

2. Call funders at the last minute and tell them you need a budget amendment because you can’t spend the money the way you budgeted.

Why: Funders, especially foundations, have long memories. When you ask for last minute changes close to the end of the grant it shows that you managed your funds poorly and are not watching how you spend money. While it might make sense to ask to shift money around to areas where you are lacking funds, doing this sends up red flags.

What to do instead: Monitor or budget closely and always ask for budget amendments six months (or no more than three months) prior to the close of the grant.

3. Hold a last-minute event to try to raise money.

Why: Last minute special events tend to feel like what they are, quickly thrown together and desperate. Remember, events are your brand in front of investors. Done poorly, they will leave a less than positive impression.

What to do instead: Meet one-on-one with key prospects and tell them about the exciting work you have accomplished over the past year, as well as your plan to move the needle in the coming months. Show them the outcomes and ask them to invest in your plan.

If you are struggling to make your annual fund budget, maybe its time to change the way you fundraise. Give Convergent a call and we can walk you through the steps you need to take to ensure next year is the best yet.