This post comes from the Gravyty Fundraising Academy, a series that examines how fundraisers adapt and strategize to evolve what's possible through philanthropy.
Your guide for the Gravyty Fundraising Academy is Director of Customer Success, Lisa Alvezi. Lisa has worked with countless fundraisers across Higher Education, Health Care, and Nonprofit organizations to transform fundraising. As a former frontline fundraiser herself, her goal is to help you see better results from your fundraising efforts.
The First Lesson of 2021: Impress Your Boss
Everything we do as fundraisers is to raise up our communities and bring in gifts that carry out our missions. So, don’t let the title of this post fool you – that should always be your primary concern. However, sometimes doing the best work of your life comes back around to showing your boss that you are prepared and ready to execute. That’s what this post is about.
First things first, identify the top 25% of prospects you need to be in touch with in 2021. For each one of these prospects, develop a strategic plan. Look at your organization’s history with these prospects and write the steps it will take to close the desired gift. Assign yourself due dates for each of these steps, and any necessary research that goes into executing them. Finally, make sure that each donor has a specific ask amount.
Once your plans for the first quarter are completed, be proactive in communication up the chain of command. Reach out to your manager or their administrative assistant. Book your annual strategy meeting before they come your way to set the meeting. They will likely have the outline of a plan they want you to work on. This is your chance to show your manager an intelligent analysis of your portfolio with an action plan in place for the first quarter.
What I love most about this path is that this meeting becomes a collaborative discussion and an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to your position and the organization. If your manager is presenting any new metrics or initiatives during the meeting, the two of you can collectively look at your plan, see what’s missing or is satisfied, and you are in a position to begin executing the plan.
Once you begin working on your plan, monitor your own progress, and results on a weekly basis. Get in the habit of sharing that weekly analysis with your manager and bring it to your planning meetings. Many of us in fundraising are humble and be averse to this step. However, this isn’t a “toot your own horn” action. The reason for weekly progress tracking is to proactively show your manager how the plan (that you took initiative to build) is performing, rather than requiring them to ask for transparency.
I truly hope that in 2021, you can do the very best work of your life. One of the first steps in getting there is to think like the boss. Happy New Year!
If you’d like to learn more about how artificial intelligence can empower your organization to have a culture of philanthropy, personally reach new donors, and inspire giving at scale, click the button below and let's connect.