we move into our busy season it's time to think about
transactional volumes and the impact on donors and your
"Tis the season" where it's easy to get behind as we process gifts
and update records as donors send in gifts to qualify for
year end tax receipts.
With many areas of campus
typically closed for holidays, checks may sit in desks and mail
is not opened. Procedures break down and other
problems occur. Staff have social
commitments, holiday shopping, vacations and we're also into
the cold and flu season. ---
disruptions to the normal flow of work.
Plus --- we've sent out our annual fund solicitations,
ramped up the telemarketing program, sent holiday cards,
and the special magazine with a giving coupon. All the
major gifts staff have increased the number of personal visits.
Planned giving is working overtime.
All of this sounds a
little like a no win scenario, but with a little
planning it can all a lot smoother.
Determine what the average increase in transactional volumes
will be so you can plan accordingly. See if there are any trends from year to year so
you'll have a general idea of what to expect. This is your
With all of
this in mind ...
- Send a
memo out to all staff letting them know the year end
procedures and the importance of adhering to
them. Memo should include dates, hours, where donors can drop
off gifts directly and other relevant information.
volunteers for overtime and coverage in advance. You'll probably need
additional coverage for special
donor holiday events. Make sure you understand the budgetary
implications of policies such as time and a half, double time
etc. What are the designated days where these rates
Your ability to utilize student help will
decrease since many of them go home for the holidays.
- If you're
in an employment environment with a collective agreement
you may have to notify staff of job sharing or
other changes in their normal work.
- Make sure
everyone understands the idea of "evidence of delivery" i.e.
Keeping copies of envelopes and anything else coming in from
donors which indicates the year they should be receipted. We normally do this anyway, but at this time of
year it's critical.
- Review all the year end tax
procedures if any legislation has changed regarding
deadlines and eligibility of certain types of donations.
- If you
normally have a backlog at this time of year, make sure your
customer support line is aware and can answer questions
appropriately on any expected delays. Keep your development staff updated as to the length
of the queue also. They will field many of the calls from donors
wondering where their acknowledgements and receipts are, particularly if you
normally have a fast turnaround time throughout the rest of
Processing is not the only area. You may also get behind in
your monthly reconciliations, reports and data extractions.
Let everyone know so they can factor these delays into all
of their deadlines.
- Have iron-clad procedures in place for stock and
securities gifts and someone in the office or on call
to handle these transactions. In fact, someone from planned
giving should always be on call.
You may also have to
reach your legal representative, banker or broker so make sure
you know their availability.
It's good to have packets for stock and securities transfers
prepared in advance rather than having to search for them in
- Have a
knowledgeable advancement services person on call when
the institution is closed and communicate this to your campus
switchboard so any questions on donations can
be answered. Your on call staff should have home
numbers of key people in other program areas such as annual
fund so that they can forward calls or get additional
information from them when required.
- Have your
holiday contact information and hours on your web site. You'll
need to monitor your on-line giving form to ensure it's
always working during the break especially if you
have a high volume of on-line gifts.
should be available for computer and system support. The system
should be available during the times you need to
have staff in the office. Don't install any new upgrades or
applications over the holidays. Backups should still be
happening on a regular basis. You may need to coordinate
with your central computing department to ensure network
your supplies such as letterhead well in advance.
It's difficult to arrange to have these printed during the
- Have a
plan for getting caught up in the new year as quickly as
possible. Get overtime and other resource
requirements approved in advance.
- Have fun!
The occasional staff lunch, muffins, pizza and a few other out
of the ordinary treats for advancement services staff make longer than usual
and a heavy work load more enjoyable.
that although the office may be closed, your donors and
prospects still require the level of service they have come to
expect and enjoy at other times of the year.
Make sure you plan accordingly and plan well in advance so
everyone can have a happy holiday.