Is Your Fiscal Year End June 30?
What to do about the fiscal year-end that finishes in the worst giving time of year? We all know the downward curve in giving from January to August, and then the wonderful fall giving season begins.
But what about all of the organizations (especially schools) that end their fiscal year on June 30th and begin a new year on July 1? What is the motivation for giving for our donors at this time of year?
First, we have to put ourselves in the mindset of the donor. Why would I be motivated to give to a ministry by June 30th? It is not the usual time for "extra" gifts. That is usually done during October, November, and December. So what is my motivation for giving now?
I suggest it could be one of the following:
- I am personally involved in this organization (or my children or family) and I care about its success.
- I care about the cause (camping, education, poverty, the arts, etc.) and I will give extra gifts to further that cause.
- I believe this is a solid organization and I want it to be successful at year-end.
Maybe you can add some other ideas. The important thing is to focus on the DONOR'S need to give not on what YOU need to meet your budget goals.
You must answer the question, "Why is this organization worthy of my support?" This is what the donor will consider.
It is important that your organization reach its development or annual fund goals. Here are some reasons:
- It demonstrates wise planning by your leadership.
- It allows all ministry programs to be fully funded.
- It puts the organization on a stable foundation for the next fiscal year.
The calendar year versus fiscal year is always a bit of a struggle for the development office. For fiscal management considerations a fiscal year in June/July or August/September can provide a better financial position and annual report than a calendar year end when bank accounts might present a false notion of "money in the bank".
From a donors' point of view the calendar year is the most important. They do their giving based on the calendar year as they count their yearly giving for tax purposes. They remember whom they give to by the year, even remembering multiple years back.
So the organizations that do not have a calendar fiscal year must work EXTRA hard to create motivation for giving at the June 30 fiscal year end. It is not a natural ending date to the donor.
As you communicate with your donors now, remember to "re-teach" them about the fiscal year versus the calendar year end. Remember to let them know that pledges for the end of 2009 are very wonderful, but they do not meet the budgeted needs or the ministry already implemented.
A June 30th Fiscal Year End is a more difficult path for the development officer. But when you try to look through the donors' eyes and hearts, it is easier to find a way to connect them to the ministry they care about and at the same time meet the management goals of the ministry.
My prayer is that this will encourage you in your ministry of development - blessings to you!
John Dr. John R. Frank, CFRE
Dr. John R. Frank, CFRE