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  • Writer's pictureThe MSG Team


Before we get going on this article, let's make one thing clear . . . during the last weeks of December, if you are taking vacation, then good for you. It is perfectly OK to take some much needed vacation. You can ignore this article and pretend that it doesn't even exist.

For everyone else that CHOSE to come to work, then we ask . . . what type of fundraiser are you?

Fundraiser #1, comes to work, sits at their desk and proclaim they can't get a hold of any donors, so there's nothing to do. Then they spend the week offering to answer phones while cruising around social media,

Fundraiser #2, comes to work, sits at their desk . . . and goes after it. These folks are writing grants, sending out thank you notes to donors, figuring out their donors pyramids, putting details to their fundraising budgets, scheming, planning, and using every moment to do all the things they said they "didn't have time for" before.

Why does Fundraiser #1 do what they do? Sure, perhaps there is potential that you have (or are) a loafer, who loves the idea of not doing much. However, we believe that MOST people do not enjoy being bored. Keeping oneself busy is not only more productive for your organization but also will keep people motivated.

We actually find the main reason Fundraiser #1 exists, is because they just might not know better and/or were not given expectations. (If you are an Executive Director saying to yourself right now "I shouldn't have to give expectations, they are adults", then that's a different blog entry for a different time.).

So we created this list of important "to-do's" so you can train yourself or your staff, to keep progress moving forward, even if "they can't get a hold of donors" during this time of year.


- Write thank you cards to donors and funders

- Write grants or finish up grant reports

- Put details to your fundraising revenue budget. You increased grant writing by 10%, donors by 5%, and events by 15%. Where is that money coming from?

- Create a Resource Development Plan and Timeline (Midwest Studies Group can help with that by the way)

- Send some emails out to potential new donors, seeing if they can meet in January

- Clean up your donor database. Ughhhhh . . . no one likes doing this but you were waiting for "when you had time on your hands".

- Clean out your storage/donation closet

- Do those Resource Development or software trainings you always wished you had time to take part in

- Make sure all tax letters are ready to go to donors, if they have not already

- Start doing some planning for your next event

- See if there is another fundraiser in town. you can meet up with to have a brainstorming session

- Look at all the work you did for the year and start making metrics for those things

- Don't think you can put metrics to your heart warming work? Think again. Just about everything can be made a metric. Then . . . look at all the work you did for the year and start making metrics for those things.

These are just a few ideas. If you are at the office today, and you feel that you are Fundraiser #1 . . . take the moment to look at the list above, and brainstorm your own list for the week.


Midwest Studies Group connects nonprofits to their communities, by providing feasibility studies, annual giving studies, RD planning, strategic planning, and capital campaign support. Learn more at

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