A new year means a clean slate for your organization’s fundraising strategy. And while the celebrations may be over, that doesn’t mean there still isn’t time to make a new set of resolutions. So, in addition to eating less and working out more (hah, we’ll see how long that lasts) we thought up some resolutions that your nonprofit organization might want to write down for the coming year. And then, we wrote out some of the tips you’ll need to actually keep those resolutions.
So without further ado, here are five resolutions that will help your organization through another, even more successful year of fundraising in 2013. Good luck!
1) “I will send one email per month.”
Keeping in touch with your constituents, whether they’re donors, fundraisers, or volunteers, is very important to your organization. But sending too many emails or direct mailers can sometimes be an annoyance. Consider emailing your constituents on a monthly basis. It’s often enough that you won’t overwhelm them with information, but will be just enough to keep them regularly engaged with your organization. But before you start emailing your list, you and your team will want to consider the following questions:
- What is the purpose of each email? Are you asking for donations? Updating volunteers on new opportunities? Inviting past participants to your next event? Sharing fundraising news or tips? Defining the purpose of each email will help give your reader a clearer call-to-action. Cramming several different topics into one email, on the other hand, is overwhelming and ineffective.
- How often are you sending out each type of email? Stagger when you send each type of email to keep things interesting. Of course, those emails that are time sensitive, such as an event invite, are first priority.
- What are the exact dates you’re sending each email? Mark every email on your team’s calendar to give yourselves recurring deadlines. This will also help you keep track of the types of emails you will be sending, and how often.
If you need help starting 2013 on the right note with these action items, download these 35 free email templates to get started.
2) “I will start blogging.”
Blogging is one of the most effective ways to engage your audience and share your expertise around your mission and cause. Not only does it increase your SEO rank and position you as a thought leader, it’s also a great place to highlight your supporters throughout the year. Here are a few blog post ideas to consider:
- Highlight an outstanding donor, fundraiser, or volunteer each month.
- Post about your most recent fundraising campaign or event. Highlight how much was raised, how many individuals participated, and how it directly impacts your mission.
- Give your nonprofit a face; have your staff write a post about themselves and why/how they got involved with your organization.
- Share news related to your cause, such as stories from the field that show the impact of your supporter’s funds. Encourage your volunteers to guest post about their experiences, as well.
Encourage your entire team to contribute on a monthly basis so you have fresh ideas and tons of available content for the future. Keep track of your upcoming blog posts with our free blog post schedule template.
3) “I will incorporate Facebook into my next campaign.“
67% of 20-35 year olds interacted with a nonprofit on Facebook in 2012, according to The Millennial Impact. Incorporating Facebook into your next fundraising campaign or event is a guaranteed way to interact with this younger demographic. If you don’t already have one, you can create a nonprofit Facebook page for your organization. You can also include social media buttons in your emails, as well as on your organization’s website, linking to your page. This will make it easy for your supporters to find and interact with you on Facebook and other social networks.
If you want to get creative, you can run a contest on your Facebook page and ask supporters to post a video or simply write the reason why they support your cause on your page. You can pick your favorite, and dedicate a blog post and email to that individual. You can even create a Facebook event for your next fundraiser and ask attendees to virtually “check in” the day of. Be creative and test out different ideas to see what drives the most engagement.
Tip: Images often get the most likes and shares out of any other media on Facebook, so don’t forget to leverage the myriad free design tools out there to create compelling social media visual content!
4) “I will optimize my website’s navigation.”
Many individuals are looking to your website for information on how to donate, volunteer, or participate in upcoming fundraising events. Having a clear and concise navigation will make finding this information easy for your constituents. Consider including the following in your website’s navigation bar:
- How to Donate
- Volunteer Opportunities
- Upcoming Event Calendar
- About Us (include your mission, a brief history of your organization, staff bios, and anything else you would want your network to know about your organization)
- Corporate Sponsorship Opportunities (if applicable)
If you already have these in your navigation, great job! Just make sure you keep these pages up to date for future visitors.
One Mission has a great example of a clear navigation bar, as well as a contrasting ‘Donate’ button, if you’re looking for some inspiration:
5) “I will segment and nurture my donor list.“
Your lifetime donors will be interested in different information than your brand new donors. By segmenting your list, you can tailor the types of content you’re sending to your different audiences. This will increase the likelihood the recipient will open, read, and enjoy your emails. Here are six segments to consider creating of your existing (and future) donor list:
- New Supporters – These are your first-time donors, fundraisers, volunteers, and members. Nurture them with educational materials about your organization’s mission, where and how funds are allocated, and how their support can make a difference to your organization over time.
- One-Time Donors – The majority of donors will only give once to your organization in their lifetime. These are the individuals you want to nurture right away and hopefully turn into recurring donors or fundraisers. If an individual hasn’t given a second time within three months of their first contribution, send them a customized email with other ways to get involved with your organization and include an option to donate again.
- Recurring Donors – Thank these donors often and in clever ways, such as a personalized video or directly on Twitter or Facebook. These donors are hard to find, but they are extremely loyal to your cause.
- Large Gift Donors – Do something special for these individuals, such as featuring them on your homepage or, if they want to remain anonymous, have your founder make a personal phone call to thank them. If you have the budget, throw an end of the year gala dinner for these constituents and your team.
- Old Donors – Keep communication with these individuals light and share only the really big news, like hitting your yearly fundraising goal, or launching a new campaign. Sparking engagement with these folks is always possible, but they may not want to hear from you on a monthly basis.
- Local Donors – Invite these individuals to smaller, in-person events, either at your office or at a local venue. You’ll be able to create a nice group of recurring donors and supporters who can spread the word throughout your community. They may even turn into superstar evangelists!
Now, I know keeping resolutions can be challenging, but keeping even one of these in 2013 will make a huge difference to your fundraising efforts. Attracting new donors is a challenge for all nonprofits, and engaging them online can be your first step.
What other marketing resolutions have you made for your organization in 2013?