By Jan McGuire
The end of the year is here! Is your acknowledgment process ready to meet the demands of this time of year? Take a moment to do a self-check to ensure you are ready!
Standard Operating Procedure vs. End of Year Procedure. You are likely utilizing a gift report to prepare your acknowledgments. How often do you pull your report? If it's only once a week, consider twice a week or even every other day during year-end to ensure you are keeping pace with year-end gifts.
Review Process. Who reviews your acknowledgments, and how much time do they have to provide you with feedback or approval? Have a critical conversation with them and ask that they prioritize timely and efficient proofing during year-end (btw, this should always be the case BUT definitely during year-end). And if this person(s) is taking additional time off around the holidays, what is the contingency plan? Are they willing to approve acknowledgments while on personal leave, or should this vital task be designated to another colleague while they are away?
Holiday Office Hours. Some of your offices – particularly in higher ed – may be closed for a week or more during the holidays. If that's the case, your Gift Processing department is likely still working - perhaps on a part-time or rotational basis. Be sure you are aware of their work schedule. Consider preparing acknowledgments based on their schedule of processing gifts. Working a few hours during the holidays helps to ensure that donors receive timely acknowledgments. And you won't start the new year off with an overwhelming number of acknowledgments to prepare. And this leads me to my next point...
Remember the purpose of acknowledgments. The purpose can be summed up in one word: gratitude. Gratitude should be expressed in a donor-centered manner. Not when it's convenient for your workload or holiday schedules.
Messaging adjustments. While we don't know what 2021 may bring, we know that donors have kept our organizations going this year and are preparing us for success in the new year, thanks to their generosity. Take a look at your messaging and refresh as needed for the end of the year.
The bottom line is this: it's been a heck of a year, and as it comes to a close, it's more vital than ever to keep your acknowledgments and the associated process donor-centered. If you're searching for more pro-tips, Lynne presented a great webinar last month entitled Timely Thinking about Thanking: Digital Acknowledgments. A recording is available here.
We'd love to hear from you! What are some of your tips and tricks for propelling through this busy season of acknowledgments? Let us know!