The end of the year brings a new beginning and a great time to take a look at your annual ministry calendar.

As you look toward ministry in 2017, here are five things that should be on your calendar:

#1 – Donor Communication

The IRS says you should send a statement to donors at the end of the year. But don’t let the government set your standard.  Plan and send frequent communication, keeping a careful balance between appreciation and information.

Perhaps you schedule a quarterly, printed newsletter or send a monthly email update.  Construct a communication calendar that makes sense for your ministry and put the dates right on your calendar.

#2 – Key Fundraising Events

If you have annual fundraising events, make sure you put them on the calendar.  When you choose the date for your spring gala, golf tournament, or online fundraiser, make sure you leave enough space before and after them for planning and promotion.

#3 – Deadlines For Planning Key Events

One of the most powerful things you can put on your calendar is a note to start planning for big events or special services.  In other words, don’t just schedule an event, decide when you’re going to start planning and put that date on your calendar.  This will keep something from “sneaking up on you.”

#4 – Board Meetings

Make sure you schedule your board meetings and notify your board in advance.  Planning them in advance will set your meetings up for success and ensure maximum participation.

Here is a free resource to equip your board members and explain how their involvement can make a difference.

#5 – Planning Retreat

If you haven’t already planned your ministry year, go ahead and schedule a planning meeting for the near future.  But it might be an even better idea to look toward the end of the year and schedule an advance planning retreat.  Bring together key board members, staff or stakeholders for an overnight retreat focused on making the biggest difference possible in the future.

For more help planning your ministry’s annual communication calendar check out this interview with Laura Bishop. She lays out the specifics around how your team can avoid the stress and disorganization of playing catch up with your communication.

If you have any other questions our team can help with just reach out to us.  We help ministries just like yours clarify their mission, engage their board and raise money for important work.

Here’s to planning ahead and avoiding the unwanted surprises!