It’s the Next Quarter ….. Do You Know Where Your Development Program Is? (Or Time for a Strategy and Tactics Check Up)

1 04 2011

Many of you will remember those iconic ads that asked parents who were awake late at night if they knew where their children were at.  Well, I believe we can avoid late nights of worrying about how we meet our goals for the year.  For many non-profits the development office means that jobs and programs are kept, while for others there are new opportunities in research, increased scholarship support, and new or renovated facilities. No pressure right?

For most non-profits, it is either the beginning of the 2nd or 4th quarter. This is a great time to roll out your philanthropic GPS and see where you are right now?  Consider taking a critically important time out to see where you are in fulfilling your goals for the year.

Stop the fundraising treadmill, pull out that document (I am eternally hopeful that everyone has a work plan, if you don’t stay tuned for future blog posts on that), and see if what you anticipated, hoped for, and maybe even planned for is coming true.  You have an opportunity right now to impact that bottom line in a more profound way then you will two weeks or two months from now.  There is a great Albert Einstein quote that goes something like this “The same thinking that got you into a problem is unlikely to get you out of it.”

Whether you are in a massive capital campaign, running the annual giving program, or a major gifts officer, use this opportunity to check your strategy and the tactics to implement that strategy.  Running an effective program includes knowing where you are at all times, but checking your plan ensures you know where you are GOING at all times!

Possible Outcomes:

  • We are on target or ahead! (Hooray for you!) – Can we tweak to maximize?
  • We are a bit behind.  – Do we need to alter strategy and/or tactics? Start with tactics, unless something significant has altered the thinking that established the original strategy.  Examine if you can meet goals proceeding with the status quo.
  • We are woefully off pace or target. – You need to change something….if it’s the 2nd quarter, you have lots of time to consider major shifts, if it is your 4th quarter, consider aggressive tactical shifts to maximize on energy already expended on those strategies.  If the strategy is dead in the water – develop short term strategies to meet goals.

Good luck!


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