Big Dollars for a Small Change?

If you’d like to reduce your donors’ complaints about how frequently you ask them for money (and thereby, perhaps, increase the amount of money they actually give you), consider making this small change: convert your nonprofit’s finances from a fiscal- to a calendar-year basis.   Why?  Because very few individuals operate their lives, or plan their charitable contributions, on the basis of your fiscal year: when they give you money in May, they don’t expect you to ask them again in September, and they’re justifiably annoyed when you do.

You, by contrast, are justifiably annoyed at their complaints, because you know that May is the end of one year and September is almost midway into another.  Unless you’re keeping track of donations the same way your donor is, it’s easy for them to feel unappreciated and you to feel deprived.

So unless every April 29 or June 29 or September 29 you’re giving an absolutely kick-ass Fiscal New Year’s Eve party (and raising an absolutely kick-ass amount of money on it), consider shifting over to calendar-year accounting.  It will be a single year’s chore (a fact your accountant won’t let you forget), but it will pay dividends in donor satisfaction for years to come.

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