Calendaring is perhaps my favorite part of planning because all of the ideas start to become real.
How you manage the calendaring process can really mean the difference between “business as usual” and a darned good plan.
Of course, fundraising planning does not begin with a calendar. A list of activities and associated dates is the final stage of a good plan, not the beginning.
Make sure you’ve assessed your program, set some strategic goals for the year, and established measurable objectives. Don’t forget to use the straw man tool we recently shared with you.
OK, now you’re ready to put together your calendar. This is where the rubber hits the road and your planning turns to action.
Here’s a calendaring exercise we use with our clients all the time. We’re still in the first quarter of the year and, if you haven’t done this exercise yet, you still have time! We promise, you’re fundraising program will be better for it.
Fantastic Calendar Exercise
– Get a bunch of people into one room for a “fundraising calendaring session.” The group obviously depends upon the make-up of your organization, but it could include your development staff, communications team, Executive Director, etc.
-Using color-coded post-it notes, put all the activities that are in your plan up on the wall month by month. The color-coding can include things like: written in stone activities that can’t be changed, events, mailings, infrastructure activities, board meetings, etc.
-Then step back and ponder: Does everything on the wall support your long-term vision? Are there goals that can be achieved by combining some activities?
-Consolidate some post-it notes.
-Get rid of some post-it notes!
-Step back and ponder again.
Whittle away and refine your calendar until it’s a streamlined set of achievable activities that specifically and obsessively support the achievement of your goals and objectives.
With limited resources and high demand, efficiency is your only option. Try this exercise and let us know how it goes. Or, if you have a different way of streamlining your work, share it with us!