A page of a calendar to remind fundraisers to make the most of year endFor most of the thousands of people receiving this email newsletter, there are only 5 or 6 business days left in 2012. This is typically an odd time for fundraisers: we’re stuck between the sense that everyone is celebrating a holiday and the reality that a large percentage of gifts are yet to come in.

While I’m a huge proponent of taking time off, this isn’t the time to take entire weeks off. You need to make sure that your donors can get timely information on how to make a gift, whether cash or stock. So be sure to work at least half days during the week between Christmas and New Years.

But in reality, that week will be quite slow. So now is a great time to get a jump start on 2013! Use this time to

  • Clean up your prospect lists

    At this point in the year, you probably have multiple prospect lists. Now is a great time to go through them to create a list for you to use in January. This exercise will probably remind you of a few people you need to call before the end of the month!

  • Sketch out a plan for next year

    What theme will you use in your fundraising letters next year? It’s a great time sketch them out. Whether you send 3 or 13 letters, I find it’s easier to write them if I have a common thread I can refer to. Just the simple act of jotting this down on paper can help you immensely when it comes time to write the letters. (And if you’re truly ambitious, or truly bored, why not take a stab at writing each of the letters now. How much is really going to change between now and whenever you plan on sending the letter?

  • Plan a retreat

    Whether it’s you getting an hour or two at a local cafe or your team getting a day offsite, a retreat in January can be time and money incredibly well invested. This time helps clear the air and get your whole team (even if it’s just a team of 1!) on the same page.

If this is normally a more relaxed few days of the year, enjoy it. And make them a springboard for your 2013!

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