Did you know halftime is much more important than just giving players time to rest. That’s only part of it.

Halftime is a crucial moment for strategizing and making adjustments for the second half. Teams enter the game with a plan, and halftime allows them to fine-tune their strategies and make the necessary adjustments to secure victory.

In many cases, this is what separates the great teams from the mediocre ones.

The second half of 2023 has started, but there’s still time to fine-tune your strategies.

Here are six questions that can help improve your plans for the rest of 2023:

1. What is (at least) one fundraising-related lesson we’ve learned this year? Should we adjust our plans? If so, how?

Nothing goes exactly as planned. Spend time reflecting on what you’ve learned in the first half. Did a solicitation letter perform better than expectations. Why? Did you take something away from a conference you haven’t used yet? If you can’t think of anything you’ve learned, it may be because you’re not building time in your schedule to strategize, plan, and evaluate. Now is a good time to start.

2. Are we seeing similar trends to the Giving USA Report in our database?

Giving USA reported a decrease of 3.4% in giving not adjusted for inflation. Individual giving decreased by 6.4% as well. Look back at your data in 2021 and 2022. Are you seeing similar trends in your giving? What are you doing to stay ahead if you’re not seeing a decline? If you are seeing a similar trend, revisit your plans, goals, and budget. This data and discussion is a great training opportunity for your Board!

3. Are we on track according to our annual development plan?

First, you should have a plan. Without one, you’re just hoping all this work you’re doing will end with you hitting your goal. Good news is now it a great time to build a plan if you didn’t start the year with one. A lot of plans end up gathering dust on the shelf because we get so busy. Take a couple of hours to review your plan, evaluate your progress, and make necessary adjustments. This is also a great training opportunity for your Development Committee and Board!

4. What are the 3-5 key messages we need to deliver in the second half of 2023?

One of the main reasons messages don’t stick is because nonprofits share too many messages. Remember, the more you try to tell someone the less likely they are to retain it. You’re end up taking attention away from your best messages. Come up with the 3-5 key messages you want to communicate for the rest of this year and use them over and over. When you’re sick and tired of saying it and ready to try something else, that’s when people are just starting to notice. Don’t give up on your messages too soon.

5. Do we have a detailed follow up plan after our fall event?

Do you have an event planned this fall? One of the greatest missed opportunities in fundraising is the lack of a follow up plan after a fundraising event. Plan how you will thank sponsors and donors immediately following the event. Are you collecting email addresses at the event? When will they hear from you? What will the message be? Map these communications out BEFORE your event. You may want to incorporate these new contacts in your year-end campaign. And look at that transition to our final question…

6. Do we have our end of year campaign lined out?

It’s not too early to get started on your year-end campaign. Thanksgiving will be here in the blink of an eye. A hastily thrown together appeal will not give you the best results. Now is the time to plan your year-end campaign. The average nonprofit raises approximately 20% of their total dollars raised in December. Also, approximately 30% of online donations all year come in December. Your campaign should incorporate snail-mail and email communications. Don’t throw together another year-end campaign at the last minute.

As always, THANK YOU for reading. Have a great day!

All the best,

Kenny Sigler, CFRE