Time For Some Spring Cleaning

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If the idea of doing any type of cleaning makes you want to scream, just think of how much better you feel when it’s done. Your house sparkles and it can be cathartic to get rid of old clothes and shred paperwork you’ve had since the Clinton Administration. Often getting started is the hardest part.

The same is true for your nonprofit organization.Yes, you have a bunch of so-called cumbersome tasks you should do. But they’re important, and you’ll benefit a lot if you take care of them.

Here are a few spring cleaning projects you should tackle.

Clean up your mailing lists and database

Did you have an influx of address changes, returned mail, and bounced emails after you sent your year-end appeal? Now is a good time to clean up and update both your direct mail and email mailing lists.

Don’t wait until right before your next mailing to clean up your donor data. Even though it’s tedious, have someone who’s familiar with your donors (your development director?) go through your mailing lists and database to see if you need to make any additions, changes, and deletions.

Be meticulous. No donor wants to see her name misspelled, be addressed as Mrs. when she prefers Ms., or receive three mailings because you have duplicate records.

Your donor database is an important tool and it needs to be up-to-date and filled with accurate information about your donors.

How are you doing?

We’re three months into 2016. This is a good time to look at your fundraising and marketing plans to figure out what’s working, what isn’t, and if you’re on target with your goals. If you never created these plans, then one of your first priorities is to do that. Don’t go through the year without having any plans in place.

It may be too early to do much of an assessment, but if something clearly isn’t working or needs to be improved, you still have time to fix it.

Is your website driving people crazy?

Has it been awhile since you updated your website?  Is it cumbersome to use? Even with the popularity of social media, people will go to your website for information, whether they’re first-time visitors or long-time supporters.

Your website must be up-to-date and user-friendly. Use the checklist in this post to help you create an awesome website. Is Your Website in Good Shape?

Freshen up your appeal letters and thank you letters

Take a good look at your appeal letters, thank you letters, and other content. Have you been using the same templates for years?  Are your letters all about how great your organization is and filled with jargon? Freshen them up with some donor-centered content. Is Your Organization Donor-Centered? Find Out by Taking This Quiz

Let it go

Your organization may have held an event for years, but it takes a lot of staff time and doesn’t bring in that much money. Just like your favorite sweater that’s looking pretty ratty now, it may be time to let go of this event and find a different way to raise money. How to Calculate A Fundraising Event’s Opportunity Cost

Think better rather than new

It’s tempting to try something new, but don’t just jump into the latest craze. Focus on what you can do better. Your brand new shiny object can be creating donor-centered content and building relationships.

One “new” thing you should be doing better is to be mobile friendly. Do you know anyone who doesn’t have a smartphone?  If people can’t easily view your website and email messages on their mobile devices, you’re missing out.

Take time this spring to make the updates and changes you need.

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