Here's some insight shared from one of our team members, Toby Robinson:
My father-in-law is a big farmer. Like large equipment, thousands of acres, helping feed America type of farmer.
If you're from the upper-midwest, you know it's an important time of year for farmers. It's harvest season - the culmination of all the hard work done throughout the year.
In the nonprofit world, it is also a crucial time of year – Giving Season. The fall fundraising gala just wrapped up, Giving Tuesday is in just over a month, and a planned giving campaign may close out the year.
As a prior nonprofit ED and part-time help for my father-in-law, I think nonprofit leaders can learn from farmers in order to see a successful "harvest" come year-end.
Early in the year, my father-in-law sits down to develop a plan. He knows what crops will be planted in each field and when he hopes to plant them.
In the summer, he is out in the fields each day checking in on the crops to see how they are growing, and he takes time to make sure all of the harvesting equipment is ready for what's ahead.
Then, when the weather is just so and the crop is ready, harvest begins.
🎯 My point is this: a good harvest for farmers doesn't just happen, and a successful year-end Giving Season for nonprofits doesn't just happen either.
Nonprofit leaders, try to start thinking like farmers. Set up a plan early in the year and think about what events you plan to hold and how you plan to connect with donors.
As the year continues, get out "in the fields" and meet with your current donors, grab a coffee with potential donors, visit with volunteers, send newsletters, and call and say thank you.
As you get closer to Giving Season, ensure your equipment works well. Check out your donation page and ask, "Is it easy for donors to give to our organization?"
Then, when the leaves start falling, and you're gearing up for everything this season means to your organization, you'll have put in the work, and you'll be ready.
My father-in-law does all this, just like his father, and his father before him, but the equipment has definitely changed over time. He has drones, expensive tractors, and apps on his phone that tell him how much it has rained in each field. All of this means more efficient work and a larger harvest.
Again, the same is true for nonprofits. The tech-for-good pieces of equipment for donor engagement and fundraising are extensive and have also improved, resulting in organizations connecting with donors throughout the year and seeing more successful year-end Giving Seasons.
Unlike farmers who are busy with harvest already, there is still time for nonprofits to get things in place for year-end. Here are some free "pieces of equipment" to help get you started: