The Olympics and Year-end appeals


I watched a little of the Olympics last week and noticed how the champions at the Olympics have a lot in common with the champions of year-end fundraising.

What do they have in common?  The “champions” practice and compete all year long – not just when the spotlight is shining on them

There are a lot of nonprofits that send out a year-end appeal – and maybe one other appeal during the year.

That would be like the South Korean archery team just picking up their bows a couple times a year.  They’ll never reach their potential.

Instead, the archers practice all the time.  They enter several smaller competitions.  All building towards the Olympics.

Similarly, the nonprofits who want to “reach their fundraising potential” when the spotlight shines on them at year-end practice all year long.  They work on perfecting their Spring Appeal.  They sweat over every word of the Ask at their event.  They send out one e-appeal a month, track the results, and see what their donors are most likely to respond to.

They practice.  Because how do they expect to get better at something they only do once or twice a year? 

And because they’ve been practicing the whole year, they SHINE when the spotlight hits them.

They raise record-breaking amounts of money at year end.

You know those swimmers who break the world record as they win the gold medal?  That could be your nonprofit with your year-end fundraising – but you have to put in the practice.

If you haven’t been practicing this year, I suggest you start.  You’ll raise money this fall, and you’ll raise more money at year-end because of it.

And if you or anyone on your staff is worried that you’ll be asking too much, read this.

One More Thing…

You know how you probably won’t think about archery again until the next Olympics?  And how you probably won’t even think about archery in the meantime?

The archers don’t have a choice about that.  They don’t control what’s on the viewers screens.

But your nonprofit has a choice

If you choose to send more letters, and send more emails, you’ll be on your viewers’ screens a lot more often.

And then you won’t be forgotten.  Your donors will get to know you better.  You’ll build relationship.  And because of that you’ll raise more money and do more good.