Happy New Year, everyone! Wow, it’s 2020, and I couldn’t resist the 20/20 pun. Not only are we entering a new year, we’re also entering a new decade.
Many people use the New Year to make changes and improvements in their lives. You can do the same for your nonprofit organization.
As with personal resolutions, you want to set realistic goals that you can stick with over time. Going back to the 20/20 theme, you want to set these goals and make these plans with clear vision.
Here are a few ways to help you ensure success in 2020.
You must have fundraising and communications plans
One key to success is good planning.
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.
Take a look back at 2019 to see what worked and what didn’t in your fundraising and communications. Incorporate what you’ve learned into your 2020 plans.
Be sure to include donor engagement and donor retention in your fundraising plan.
If you didn’t have a concrete plan last year and you weren’t as successful as you would have liked, that may be why.
Measure your progress
Make sure you evaluate your progress at least once a quarter. It will be easier to stay successful if you can continually measure your progress and make any necessary changes before it’s too late.
Pay attention to your donor retention
Make this a priority. You’ll have more success if you work to keep the donors you already have instead of focusing on getting new ones.
First, if you don’t already know it, figure out your retention rate. Do this after every fundraising campaign.
If it’s low, it’s something you can fix, usually with better communication. Donor retention is a huge problem for nonprofits. Your goal should be to have donors who support you for a long time.
It’s easier and less expensive to keep your current donors than to find new ones, so, once again, make donor retention a priority.
Also, the New Year is a good time to get in touch with any lapsed donors, especially ones who gave a year ago. They may just need a gentle reminder.
Emphasize monthly giving
Staying on the retention theme, the retention rate for monthly donors is 90%. Work on starting or growing your monthly giving program so you can have a bunch of highly committed donors. A good way to start is to invite your current donors to become monthly donors.
Make building relationships a priority
You may think the most important component of fundraising is raising money. While that’s important, so is building relationships with your donors.
It’s hard to raise money year after year if you don’t build a good relationship with your donors. Every single interaction with your donors needs to focus on building relationships. That includes fundraising appeals. It’s possible to raise money and build relationships at the same time.
Good relationships with your donors will help you with retention.
Show some gratitude, too
A big part of building relationships is showing gratitude to your donors. Many nonprofits do a poor job with this.
You need to start by sending a heartfelt thank you immediately after you receive a donation and then find ways to thank your donors throughout the year. Put together a thank you plan to help with this.
Start the New Year off by making fundraising and communications plans. Then monitor your progress, pay attention to your retention rates, and work on building relationships with your donors.
Best of luck for a successful 2020.