First, let’s all pat ourselves on our backs – we all survived the spring…events, commencements, maybe even budgeting season and evaluations. We are ready to plan our summer vacations, float in the pool, read a good book, and take a deep collective breath.
The last thing we want to dig into is annual endowment reporting. But alas, while annual endowment reports are typically sent in the fall (based on your fiscal year), the planning starts well before, and we should take advantage of the summer months to get ahead of some of those pesky reporting tasks that plague us as we never seem to have time to tackle them when the fall is in full swing.
Below are the top three things we suggest for your summer endowment reporting chore list:
Annual review of stewardees: pull your master list of report recipients and dig in to determine if you are still reporting to the correct people (i.e. you can identify a viable relationship between the recipient and your organization, and they are engaging with the content). How, you ask? A few examples:
If they were added as a report recipient, but no one knows why, or who they are, and they have no giving history with your organization – consider retiring their report.
Estate representatives? Reach out and inquire as to whether they still need annual reporting – many do not after a period of time.
Recipient is receiving a digital report – have they opened it in the last three years? Have they clicked through the content? Responded in any way? If no, consider removing them from reporting.
Group gift and many people receive the report? Identify the primary reporting relationship via the gift agreement and consolidate efforts. This can be a bit tedious and requires some research and nuanced decision making, but it will help streamline and bring efficiency to your processes ten-fold. Consider the time and effort it takes annually to complete donor reporting and confirm you have maximum ROI for these efforts!
Missing emails: if you are primarily sending digital reports but still have some loose print ends for those who do not have an email in your database, this is a prime opportunity for a bit of “coercive” information gathering! It’s okay to give your donors an either/or choice in this age of technology. A good communication technique is to issue a letter or postcard that shares a message along the following lines…“Our organization is going green! In order to share information with you on the impact and financial performance of your gift, we are implementing digital reporting. In order to continue receiving your report, please provide an updated email address.” If they don’t respond, they have opted out of receiving future reports. Use this time to implement email gathering initiatives and for those who opt out or don’t respond, don’t be afraid to retire their reporting! There are other ways to manage print reporting needs for one-off situations than creating mass printing initiatives and hybrid programs. If you have a digital reporting program – be digital all the way!
Ensure all your previous year’s survey data has been entered, tracked in your CRM, analyzed, reported up and out, and you are actively using it to plan the upcoming year’s reporting process (Do you need examples of report surveys? See some of our favorites below, or visit our DRG Library!). This includes:
Coding all report recipients with appropriate notes on content in your CRM.
Coding all survey respondents, issues, action steps, and outcomes in your CRM.
Coding all survey respondents appropriately to be counted in your CASE alumni metrics (if your organization submits every year).
Enter any necessary contact reports with development officers and leadership for VIP donors.
Analyze your survey data and prepare a visual summary to report to leadership and peers with your reporting success, donor trends, and any key messages necessary (need a couple examples? See below!). There’s no point issuing the survey if you don’t use the data gathered to drive your strategy, and to share with the many others who help make reporting possible!
As I tell my kids, when you get your chores done, then and only then, do you get to go have fun and face plant in front of the screen with your Netflix of choice. Use this time wisely when it comes to your reporting data maintenance and your future frazzled fall self will thank your proactive summer self!
Drop your favorite reporting clean-up tips, tricks, and annual processes into the comments below – we love hearing from our readers!
Looking for even more reporting tips and tricks? Check out our Reporting Webinar Series for our team's insights on simplifying your reporting process.