As I engaged in annual pantry cleaning today I wondered whether fundraising professionals take the time to clean their pantries at year end. In other words, do we take stock, clean shelves, and start 2017 fresh? What questions or thoughts might a professional keep in mind while doing a bit of fundraising “pantry cleaning”?
- Consider which staples are critical to keep on hand: Flour, sugar, salt, coffee, tea, and other regularly used items might be on your kitchen shelves…
- What are the equivalent fundraising staples in your shop — your annual appeal and reply card and/or your web giving page?
- Are these fundraising staples stale and in need of a refresh?
- Think about what items you might “ring out” in order to leave room for the new: At home, you might have purchased a special oil or pasta only to find it went partially used because it didn’t quite live up to your expectations.
- Do you have a fundraising appeal or approach that might not be as productive as anticipated?
- Is that special event not quite so special anymore and in need of a revamp?
- Or is it time to replace that event with an approach that might prove far more efficient and effective (e.g., a focus on major or legacy gift fundraising)?
- Organize for ease and efficiency
- Do you have a development plan that is outlined by type of activity and month?
- Does your plan include names of who is responsible for carrying out, or helping to carry out activities?
- Give others who use the pantry a tour of the updated shelves: After cleaning my pantry I gave my spouse a tour so he wouldn’t have to root through shelves to find his favorite snack or wonder where the baking mix that expired disappeared to.
- If you have or plan to revise your development plan or a specific approach with who do you need to discuss it, e.g., ED, Development Committee, staff, etc.?
Pantry cleaning can be just as helpful on the work front as the home front. If you are engaged in a bit of fundraising pantry cleaning what old approaches might you be ringing out and what news ones are you potentially ringing in? We look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Sophie Penney, Ph.D.