A new year. A fresh start. A chance to take a breath, see where you are and where you want to be.
OK, so we all know about resolutions. (Raise your hand: who’s going to lose weight this year, for sure?)
But seriously, resolve to improve your fundraising. Pick just a few things and then do them! You’ll be glad you did this time next year. Here are some ideas for you.
Focus on donors, not dollars
Yes, you need to have goals. Yes, there’s a budget. But when you value your donors and relationships, the dollars follow. And you don’t waste valuable time churning through donors.
Communicate more and do it better
This follows relationship building. How many close friends hear from you once a year – or only when you need something? Your donors are your partners. Don’t keep them in the dark. Update them on your progress. Share great stories. Thank them often. Show them how their gifts make the world a better place. And ask for their help. They want to help!
Thank donors properly and promptly
I hope you’re already doing this. But resolve to thank your donors within 48 hours of receiving their gifts. And do it right! Here are some tips for writing a great thank you letter.
Interview a donor and someone who benefits from your work
Want to know how to talk about your work? Hear it from the mouths of those who support it or need it. This is one idea that pays off in many ways. You learn something. Your donor or beneficiary feels needed and valued. (“I can’t believe they wanted to talk to me!”) And you can use what you learn to communicate with all your donors. Try a simple video interview. Bring along a camera, set it on a tripod and ask a few questions. Then let the conversation go where it will. You can edit it down for sharing later.
Try a survey
A donor survey can help you build relationships and give you interesting information. I wrote about how Jonathon Grapsas’ inspiration helped me do this here.
Review your case for support
How well are you making the case for your organization? Your case will inform all your fundraising communications. Are you talking about your needs or how a donor can do something wonderful? Remember, donors don’t care about your budget or fundraising goals. Take a step back and ask someone outside your organization to read your case. Is it understandable and compelling?
If you don’t already have one, create a special group for loyal donors. Acknowledge their continued giving. Thank them in a special way. Recognize them with an event, or highlight their names in your annual report. Regardless of their gift amounts, these are golden donors. Be sure they know how much your organization values them.
Take time to keep learning
There’s so much to learn! Read something about fundraising or communications every day. It will spur your own creativity, generate new ideas – and make your work more fun. Bloomerang put together a good round up of blogs to read. Select a few and make them part of your daily routine.
Thanks for reading this year. I truly appreciate you! And I want to offer information and insights you’ll find valuable. Is there something you’d like to read about? Let me know in the comments.
And Happy New Year!