My Four Fundraising Resolutions for 2015
New Year’s Resolutions – we’ve all made them. Exercise more. Eat better. Complain less. The goal is always the same: to live a better life. But what about fundraising? What things can we all be doing differently to live a better fundraising life?
That’s why this year I’m doing something different … this year, in addition to my own personal ones, I’m making four fundraising resolutions:
1. Celebrate Victories
In this line of work, it’s easy to focus on what’s left to do … not to mention all the money that needs to be raised in order to make those things happen. But we can’t let that stop us from celebrating our accomplishments, and spreading the word about them. Let your donors know when you’ve successfully helped the people you serve, or when a piece of legislation you’ve advocated for has passed. When done well, sharing good news helps keep everyone – donors and team members alike – inspired and motivated to keep pushing forward.
2. Thank Donors More
It goes without saying that we should remember to thank donors! And I don’t mean just by sending them an acknowledgement after they’ve made a gift. After all, donors make everything we do possible. Send them an unexpected thank-you postcard, or have volunteers call simply to say “thank you.” Forward donors a thank-you note you received from someone your organization helped. Making donors feel valued in this way doesn’t have to mean adding extra work. Look at the existing communications with your donors, and make a point of referencing their loyal support and the impact they’ve made. A donor who feels appreciated and sees the impact his or her gift is making is a donor who will give again.
3. Focus on the Good, Too
While it’s important to fix anything that’s not working, we can’t lose sight of the things that are. Next time you’re brainstorming or planning, take time to look at what is working well – then think about how you can do more of it. Along those lines, don’t let the voices of a few unhappy donors overpower the happy ones. There will always be complainers who feel the need to pick up the phone or write you a letter with their criticism. But happy donors will show they’re content by making a gift and staying engaged. Don’t let the complaints of a few cloud out what is successfully working with the majority … and don’t let the complainers guide your strategy.
4. Set Goals. Make Plans. Get Answers.
Take the time to set goals for the year – and make them specific. Do you want to increase retention? Do you want to acquire more new donors? Increase revenue? Setting concrete goals for the year ahead will help guide strategy and make decision making easier. But don’t just make a goal – outline a plan for how to get there and a plan for measuring progress. For example, draft an agenda with possible tests you can conduct to help you meet your goal. Having a defined goal and a plan will not only give you something to work toward, but will also make it easier when reviewing results to determine whether your strategy worked or not.
I’m going to do my best to keep these resolutions in mind in the year to come, and I hope you find them helpful, too. Here’s to a happy – and prosperous – 2015!
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