by Josh Jacobson

Is it really going to be 76 degrees today? And yes, I still put on a sweater vest this morning. It will remain winter if only in my mind.

In truth, March is early spring – there’s no getting around it. And as such, it is a time for us to consider springing forward for the ~80% of nonprofits with a June 30 fiscal year. Here are Next Stage’s top ten suggestions for making the most of the next few months:

  1. Staff Assessment & One-on-One Meetings – We all know that April and May bring a lot of staff turnover, but we wonder if it has to be that way. Sit down with your staff member before the onset of the human resources musical chairs to discuss their career, their pathway with the organization and how to help them reach their potential. It can make a huge difference toward retaining talent.
  2. Complete the Audit & 990 Submission – Ugh, we know. No one particularly loves the audit process and/or the effort to submit the 990 Form to the IRS. Rather than see it as a hateful exercise, use it as an opportunity to reflect on the previous year and get familiar with your stats. Analyzing financial performance is a critical component of nonprofit strengthening.
  3. Review the List of LYBUNTs – Of course, we all know the term LYBUNT, so I hardly need to define it, right? No? It stands for Last Year But Unfortunately Not This, and it refers to past donors who for whatever reason have not yet made a gift during your current fiscal year. Do you know who is on this list? If not, we recommend that you do.
  4. Ensure Sponsorship Fulfillment – Our sponsors care about mission – it is part of why they sponsor you. But make no mistake, sponsorship is earned revenue. Your organization earns it by fulfilling the expectations contained in the sponsorship agreement. It might be time to dust those off and make sure you are on track.
  5. Make Your Top-10 List for Coffee – The clock is ticking and pretty soon it will be too late to try to get people to meet for coffee. I heard it call “June-tober” – the idea that if you don’t have it on the calendar by the start of June, it will likely take until October to get it back on the calendar. Tempus fugit! Reach out and get that meeting locked down.
  6. Prepare for Summer Projects – Too many nonprofit leaders wake up on July 1 and have no idea how they are going to leverage a two-month respite before the fiscal year starts picking up again with the arrival of fall. Don’t be one of them. Make your summer plan now and get folks ready to run when the time comes.
  7. Clean Up the Database – “Garbage in, garbage out.” It is a truism for a reason. The messy constituent relationship management (CRM) database will never do what you need it to do if it is full of mislabeled and poorly-entered data. Make a commitment, set a deadline and get your team focused on a spring data cleaning.
  8. Review Your Marketing Plan – Did we reach the population segments we hoped to reach this year? If so, what made us successful? If not, is it too late the figure that out? (here’s a hint: it is not too late) The beautiful marketing plan you built last summer has suffered the slings and arrows of practicality all fiscal year long. It’s time to level set, fill gaps and double-down on successes.
  9. Prepare Storytelling Content – Spring is event season, which also means it is storytelling season. Every organization should be building a new set of stories to share that illuminate the pursuit of mission. Who are the people your organization has engaged or served over the last 9 months? It is time to capture those testimonials and share those stories.
  10. Schedule a Happy Hour to Celebrate – Amiright? We here at Next Stage always encourage the proper and appropriate imbibing of alcohol to celebrate the year that was. After you’ve made it through our top ten list, you deserve as frosty beverage of your choice. But only one… okay, maybe two.

What are your must-happen activities before June 30? Share them on our social pages!