July 1st is the “New Year” for many nonprofits. New fiscal Year, that is!

No matter how well the past year’s fundraising was, today is the day you start back at zero. Again.

So I asked some of the top experts in the field what advise they’d give to nonprofit leaders and fundraisers starting the new year. Here’s what they said!

I would encourage NonProfits to choose their targets wisely for the next year: know what you will raise money for, how you will report on those funds (internally and externally), and to whom you will ask for help (your segments). Then you are ready to write your appeals, prioritize your campaigns, and charge up your gift officers.

Glen Quiring, Executive Director, Fresno Pacific University

Not in that position (thank goodness) but we all have our fiscal year starts, no matter where they fall on the calendar.

So my advice is – don’t think of it as starting from zero. Think of it as a fresh start, a new chance to accomplish goals, make good habits stick, and grow as professional, and as a person. And if you’re like me, a chance to use some of that advice you give to others – schedule that vacation, take time to read that book, or just take a day to sleep in and reset your mind.

Amy Lazoff, Director of Development, Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo

Fiscal years are artificial; relationships are not. Reminding people of accounting standards is rarely, if ever, inspirational. So while your board, executive director, or finance team might be focused on a new fiscal year and that blank cell next to the year to date, remember your donor is passionate about the cause you help them address. It’s a deep longing in their heart for a better world. Keep inspiring them about the continuing work. It turns out that by not having your donors focus on YTD = zero, you can shift your focus towards continuous momentum as well. Your donor isn’t starting from zero and neither are you.

Cherian Koshy, Chief Development Officer, Endowment Partners

I would say that right now, there are many things outside our locus of control—the economy, the continuing impact of the pandemic and more. Focus on the things that *are* in your locus of control. Things like providing outstanding donor stewardship, listening to donors concerns and interests, offering meaningful opportunities for stakeholder engagement and caring for both your team and yourself. These are the things that matter regardless of external unpredictability.

Heather R. Hill, Head of Foundations, Chapel & York

The immediate investment made into building a relationship between a CEO and chief philanthropy officer will yield some of the best results. Philanthropically, relationship wise and in the building of sustainable donor relationships.

A listening tour to truly understand your organization, your history and your opportunities is one of the best investments made in the first 60 days within a new organization. While we want to head out the door quickly. Taking the time to understand nuances and culture support longevity and success.

Kathy Drucquer Duff, KDD Philanthropy

So there you have it. Take a deep breath. Listen. Focus on what you can impact, things like relationships within your organization and with donors.
Happy new (fiscal) year!
And in case you don’t hear it enough, click here for a video saying thanks: https://youtu.be/_aBpY7WgHfQ
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