In gymnastics, you can’t do a muscle up before you get your kip swing. The kip swing is a basic move required to master numerous advanced skills like the aforementioned muscle ups,  butterfly pull ups, and toes to bar.

The same goes for fundraising. There’s not much you can do if you don’t have the basics down pat.

Further, in a world that’s topsy turvy, I am a fan of being really good at the basics.  So in advance of Q4 — the most lucrative time of year for individual fundraisers — here are 10 items for your fundraising inspection:

  1. Do you know what core messages your supporters care about most? If you don’t, you should. Ask them. And don’t assume what you think is most important is what is most important.
  2. Do you send your supporters at least one engagement or cultivation ask for every monetary ask?
  3. Do you have a creative and inspiring acknowledgement series that donors will receive in a timely manner with a clear internal purpose of retaining those donors for years to come?
  4. Does your website blaze trails to your donation form? Get creative here: In addition to standard homepage real estate and light boxes, Everytown for Gun Safety has just incorporated “advertorial” content into their blog with specific content-relevant calls to action including fundraising.
  5. Is your donation form free from UX issues? Test it. Better yet, watch someone in your donor demographic complete a transaction and see what hurdles they encounter.
  6. Are you encouraging donors at every step to make their donation monthly? In outbound email messages, on your website, on your donation form, after someone makes a one-time gift?
  7. Do you have a robust recapture series for monthly donors and multi-year donors who lapse?
  8. Does everyone on your fundraising team have clear performance indicators and understand their role in fundraising?
  9. Do your mail/phones/grassroots and online teams know what the other channels are doing at any given time?
  10. Do you digital communications, advocacy and fundraising teams align on campaign content?

Yes – the news cycle will whip from one crisis to the next. Emerging technologies like AI will break through. Social media will evolve and something new will replace Tik Tok.

But until you have the basics covered — you can’t build on your foundation.