Happy New Year! I hope you had a good holiday. I just returned from my family’s annual trip to Florida. It’s quite a contrast from the frigid, wintery weather we’re having in Boston.
I also hope 2017 was a good year for your organization, and 2018 will be even better. If things didn’t go so well last year, here are a few ways to help you do better.
Evaluate and plan
Take a look back at 2017 to see what worked and what didn’t in your fundraising and communications. Incorporate what you’ve learned into your 2018 plans.
If you haven’t made fundraising and communications plans yet, do that now! Don’t go too far into the New Year without plans in place. Be sure to include donor engagement and donor retention in your fundraising plan (see the first link below for more information). Also, make sure you evaluate your progress at least once a quarter.
Figure out your retention rate
As you’re doing your year-end evaluation, figure out your donor retention rate.
If it’s low, it’s something you can fix, usually with better communication. It’s easier and less expensive to keep your current donors than to find new ones, so make retention a priority.
Get in touch with your lapsed donors
If you fell short of your year-end fundraising goal, one way to raise extra revenue is to get in touch with donors who have given in the last two years, but not this past year. Call them or send a personalized note. Let them know you miss them and want them back.
They may not have given to your year-end campaign for a variety of reasons including being too busy or not wanting to spend too much in December. The New Year could be the perfect time to reach out.
Start or enhance your monthly giving program
Monthly or recurring giving is also an excellent way to raise more money and boost your retention rate as well. If you don’t have a monthly giving program, start one this year. If you have one, but people aren’t taking advantage of it, work on promoting it more. Invite current donors to become monthly donors and make it a prominent option on your donation page and pledge form.
Do a better job of thanking your donors
I hope you thanked your donors after your year-end appeal and I hope you didn’t send one of those boring, generic letters. If you never sent a thank you letter, do that now!
Either way, the New Year is a great time to thank your donors. You want to show gratitude at least once a month. Wish your donors a Happy New Year, thank them again, and share a success story. You can do this by email or social media.
I haven’t been impressed with the thank yous I received after I made my year-end donations. You can stand out if you make a resolution to do a better job of thanking your donors this year.
Stay in touch throughout the year
Your donors want to hear how they’re helping you make a difference. Don’t let them down.
It will be a whole lot easier to stay in touch with your donors if you use a communications (aka editorial) calendar. When you do communicate, remember to be donor-centered and focus on building relationships.
Here’s wishing you a successful 2018!