It's a brand New Year and, while we all have our personal resolutions, we thought it would be fun to list out some of our fundraising resolutions for the year ahead. We've taken the time to compile some recommendations for how we can all be better fundraisers in 2017 (and beyond):
Politics: Leave Them Out of Donor Conversations, but Be Mindful in Strategic Planning Conversations
1.) The presidential election certainly had its fair share of drama, and how things are going to shape up in the coming year is anyone's guess. Knowing this, it's best to leave politics out of the conversation
especially when talking to donors. Avoid discussing the President-elect, and focus instead on the issues that inspire and connect donors to a client's work and mission: in the end, that's all that matters anyway!
2.) Despite this, however, it would be wise to consider the political climate when it comes to strategy and planning. Every new administration comes with its own agenda, so try to be aware of how potential policy changes and spending cuts could impact your nonprofit, and brainstorm strategies and solutions in advance to prevent operating in panic mode. (Alternatively, also be open to how potential changes in the tax code could open the way for new sources of funding from individuals or the private sector).
Cultivate Your Donor Relationships
3.) When it comes to landing a new donor, why not try to "shoot for the moon"? Increase your number of weekly meetings, target a new corporate sponsor, or get creative with social media or crowdfunding campaigns. Whatever your strategy, trying something new will help you surpass boundaries and inject new energy into your work to create success for your client AND for yourself.
4.) When communicating with existing donors, don't just assume that they know how we're spending their money. Take the time to get to know your donors as individuals as well as philanthropists, and share with them how our clients align with their interests and passions.
Engage Your Board
5.) Start the year off right with your Board. Meet directly with each Board member, or employ your Chairs and/or Executive Director to do so. Find out their plans for engagement and giving in the coming year, and help them set up an annual plan or "scorecard" to set targets, keep track of involvement, and help maintain accountability throughout the year.
6.) Take the time to do regular status checks on your
annual fundraising activity so you are always prepared to realign priorities, if necessary. This can involve assessing your current donor pool, as well as identifying prospects as they relate to your annual fundraising goal. Planning ahead and building a realistic action plan will help gauge success throughout the year, and taking the time to review progress on a quarterly basis will prepare you to change course, if needed.
7.) The same goes for events. If an event is on the docket for 2017, define the leadership structure and their roles/responsibilities upfront, and get your major leadership asks out now. Make sure frontline fundraisers have tangible goals and are held accountable. And be decisive on staffing if someone on your team is not performing--every day you wait is another day you're not raising money.
Use a Personal Touch
8.) Not that anyone needs to be reminded, but the world is getting busier, and
correspondence can get overwhelming. That is exactly why an extra dose of attention can go a long way towards making donors feel valued and appreciated. Be timely and thoughtful in all follow-up calls, and take the time to personalize your thank you messaging--it can make all the difference to embarking on a much more positive and pleasant year!
From all of us at OAI, we wish everyone a
Happy New Year, and here's to a fruitful 2017!
Written By: Kate Tedesco, Senior Associate Director, Business Development Writer
Contributions by: OAI Team