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How Tech Can Help Nonprofits

3 Way Technology Can Help Your Nonprofit

How Tech Can Aid Nonprofit Growth

 

Non-profit organizations usually don’t have the luxury of operating with endless budgets, meaning they often skimp on technology in favor of allocating cash flow to the most fundamental aspects of their operation. 

According to a recent survey conducted by Netchange, only 11 percent of nonprofits considered technology a vital component to improve their operations.

But in reality, technology could exponentially change the efficiency levels at any non-profit organization. Here we’ll show you how. 

Data Management 

Every non-profit organization has a vast amount of data to sift through. Most importantly, being able to track its own data allows an organization to accurately interpret the results of advocacy campaigns. Data science is key to analyzing datasets, allowing organizations to properly interpret campaign results and areas in need of improvement. 

And this isn’t the only benefit nonprofits could derive from data management tools. For example, telling donors a certain community lacks access to water or educational opportunities is not enough. Being able to back up that claim with numbers is vital. Nonprofits cannot underestimate the power of numbers. 

A nonprofit’s call to action would be more potent if it revealed statistics to back up its claims of the need for aid in a particular community.

Amanda Stevenson, founder of the Omaha Children’s Choir, confirmed the importance of statistics during charitable campaigns when speaking with Idealware.

“Instead of stating generally that not enough children have access to choral music, we have started to collect numbers that back that statement, increasing the validity of our grant narratives,” she said.

IT Infrastructure

Adequate IT infrastructure improves the productivity of a nonprofit. This may sound like a minor detail, but consider this: Having sufficient bandwidth can save an organization a lot of money. 

For example, with the proper IT infrastructure installed, the time it takes employees to complete simple tasks like sharing a document will be reduced, improving efficiency and therefore saving money. And with the time saved, employees can turn their attention to more important matters like interpreting the effectiveness of recent campaigns.

Efficient Communications

Nonprofits that fail to embrace tech tools for their Digital Marketing efforts spend too much time managing their social media presence. Tasks like posting content or sending emails could take hours doing it manually.

However, these tasks could be completed automatically and within minutes by using the proper tech tools. For example, scheduling posts for automatic publication and creating synchronized email campaigns will drastically improve efficiency.

Conclusion

Nonprofits can benefit from the use of tech tools to improve operations. They must first identify which technology they need to meet their goals, that way they can allocate the proper budget to improve the overall operation of the organization. With most nonprofits running on tight budgets, it is imperative they only invest in tech which will boost performance and ensure targets are met.

5 Ways Nonprofits Can Build Trust

Is Your Nonprofit Building Trust?

5 Ways Nonprofits Can Build Trust

Cultivating a relationship with your donors is the key to successful fundraising. At their core, these relationships are built on a foundation of trust. Donors will only contribute to causes that they identify with, deem worthy, or believe in. As nonprofits, there are a few intentional ways to build trust within those relationships.

These five best practices for building trust all center around ways to keep your objective clear, successfully communicate your mission, actively maintain donor relationships, practice transparency, and demonstrate accountability and appreciation.

Trust is built by consistent performance. Each of these five ways of cementing donor relationships with your nonprofit build upon each other. Although implementing one or two of these suggestions may help, you’d ideally employ of all of them. Each of these practices is necessary to achieve long-term success and build your organization’s reputation within the community.

1.Deliver a clear and consistent message

Prioritize communicating a focused mission to your donors. A clear mission statement will allow donors to see that your organization is focused and determined to complete the goals and projects that are directly aligned with your vision. Having this definition from the start will help donors anticipate what to expect and allow them to plainly see what is in it for them as they contribute to your cause.

Once you’ve established a clear mission, be earnest and consistent in adhering to those objectives. That may occasionally mean saying no to projects that do not clearly support your goals. This consistency is what will determine future and continued support. The ability to reliably deliver on your mission will keep established donors contributing and provide new donors with the comfort to donate in the future.

Finally, you must effectively communicate these messages to your donors. The best way to do that is by developing a communication plan to remain consistent throughout each of your donor touchpoints. Keep the language, fonts, logos, colors, and messaging on-brand for each e-mail, newsletter, or social media post that you share.

2. Facilitate personal, authentic connections with donors

Connect with donors on a personal level by telling them authentic stories regarding your work. Better still, invite them to see first-hand what you’re doing. Share the issues that affect your organization and encourage people to become part of the solution.

When you focus on building personal relationships with your donors, prioritize phone calls and in-person meetings. Keep written communication transparent and straightforward. When it comes to building trust, these personal relationships are critical.

These days, it’s also important to connect with your community online. It shows that you’re engaged and in touch, and you’re open to interacting with those who are invested in your success.

3. Practice Transparency

Ultimately, you gain trust by being truthful and transparent. By delivering quantifiable results, your organization can follow through on goals and projects that build trust. To do this, be upfront with your donors.

Financial transparency includes being forthcoming with financial information. Use nonprofit guides like Guidestar and Charity Navigator to publish up-to-date information about your organization and make it easy for donors to research your financial status. Make your Form 990 (Charitable Solicitation Compliance) accessible.

Additionally, have your facts straight and tell your donors exactly how their donations have been or will be used. Many donors appreciate it when they can see the direct impact of their contributions. These concrete results build trust and encourage continued generosity.

To take transparency a step further, invite donors to take a behind-the-scenes look at what you do and how your organization is run. Even if they decline the invitation, your willingness to be transparent will resonate with them.

4. Emphasize Accountability

There’s no substitute for performance, especially when it comes to fundraising. Regularly compiling an annual report is an essential tool for nonprofits, and it’s a great way to prove accountability. These documents should include immediate and long-term success and future outcomes to build trust with your donors.

Establish clear metrics for success within your organization and use your annual report to showcase these results. This is the place to present statistics on your work, like the number of individuals served, volunteers mobilized, or items delivered. To keep the report authentic, share information about high and low points from the past year and highlight the people who played vital roles in bringing about positive changes.

5. Show Appreciation

Take the time to thank the people who have contributed to your organization. Not only is it polite, but it’s good business. Expressing appreciation is a crucial component to developing personal relationships and is a large part of what nonprofits must do to maintain their donor base.

Make sure that your thank-you notes are genuine and heartfelt. This is a significant opportunity to reinforce your connection to your donor. Personalize the note and handwrite it if feasible.

As your relationships with your donors progress, learn about what they value and what motivates them to give. It’s appropriate to offer a simple congratulatory note if you hear good news about one of your donors. Recognizing milestones is especially important if you live in a tight-knit community or are connected on social media.

Conclusion

Building trust with donors requires a consistent, systematic approach. As you get to know them and build relationships with them, offer them plenty of opportunities for your donors to get to know you.

Present a clear mission and be able to show how you reliably deliver on those goals and projects. By being able to showcase your steady, constant progress in an annual report, you remain transparent. You show that your organization is willing to be held accountable to its community.

Invite your donors to connect with you and deliver authentic, on-brand communication whenever you connect with them. Show them that you appreciate their donations with a handwritten thank you note and continue to engage with them on the things that they value within your organization. Paying attention to the little things shows that your organization can be trusted with the bigger, more important things, too.

Virtual Fundraising for Nonprofits: Connecting with Donors Online

Virtual Fundraising for Nonprofits: Connecting with Donors Online

The game has changed…so must you. Here are a few ways for nonprofits to fundraise in a digital world!

 

With COVID-19 impacting every corner of the globe, many fundraising activities that involve local galas, auctions, and volunteer activities will have to shift online. Now more than ever, non profits will also need to mobilize and raise funds to help with the many effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that has left people homeless, unemployed, and in dire conditions.

Whether you’re a non profit seeking ways to continue fundraising online, or a volunteer hoping to contribute. Here are some online fundraising ideas:

1.   Flash fundraiser

Flash fundraising events can be done online and involve a one-off online event that leads viewers to a fundraising web page where they can contribute funds to a cause. This page can be a web page or even a fundraising event that is launched using tools on Facebook or other online fundraising tools. The important aspects to follow when doing a flash fundraiser is to promote the fundraising event across email and social media. Include a fundraising goal and total contributions thus far that is continually updated throughout the day.

2.   Peer-to-peer fundraising

Peer-to-peer fundraising involves a collection of fundraising pages that can be set up online by participants. Each of these participants can then promote their own personal fundraising page to their network and try to raise funds. All these personal fundraising pages can be aligned to a broader donation cause. Many tools are available to help build and coordinate such peer-to-peer fundraising events.

3.   Virtual games fundraiser

Hosting games that raise funds for a cause is challenging when everyone is social distancing. However, virtual games can be hosted where donations can be pledged to participate. Even simple fundraising ideas involving online virtual games such as Jackbox TV can be used.

4.   Virtual gala

Hosting a gala is a time-tested way for raising funds but with social distancing this can be a challenge. However, hosting a virtual gala using video conferencing tools can be the next best step and something everyone will take part in given the lack of community and social interaction these days. Set up an event sign up page and host a livestream where anyone can join in. Use the participant list to send out a link to a donation page where they can contribute during or at the end of the event.

5.   Crowdfund

Crowdfunding using platforms such as GoFundMe is an effective way to fundraise during this time. All these platforms have a huge audience and set of tools to help set up a fundraising page and spread the word out. The best part of Crowdfunding is the immense reach to interested parties and network effects you can tap into to raise funds online.

6.   Open mic night

One of the more fun ways to raise funds while social distancing for your non profit is to host entertaining events for audiences such as an Open Mic Night. These are easy to set up and involve using platforms such as Zoom to have participants join. In advance of this, you can set up a participant list using simple tools such as Typeform so anyone can register and perform at the open night. Typeform will even allow you to collect a donation during registration.

7.   Social media takeovers

With everyone at home, daily social media usage is growing and it’s one of the best ways to piggyback and spread the word on a fundraising opportunity. Reach out to popular accounts with large followings and ask if you can take over their account for a period to spread the word about your fundraising initiative.

8.   Online auctions

Online auctions can be hosted to help raise funds where any winnings are either shipped off or even auction items can be a Skype date with a celebrity or an online cooking class. All of these can be hosted online using platforms such as eflea and a big benefit to an online auction is the larger participation rate it allows. Anyone can place a bid from anywhere and everything can be tracked digitally and automatically.

9.   Donation matching

Donation matching can be effective in rallying a crowd to donate knowing that a corporate sponsor or individual will match final donations by a specific multiple. If you’re able to get a corporation on board, these matching donation drives can be introduced mid-way through as an extra push to your charity campaign and drive up donations before the timeframe ends.

10. Recurring donation pledge

Recurring donations are an effective way to develop long-lasting streams of funds and they’re easy to execute online. If paired with a marketing campaign you can get many participants through social media and email to pledge a monthly or quarterly donation to a cause. You can also tie specific gifts to certain recurring amounts they pledge.

With all these virtual fundraising ideas there are a few key components that ensure its success. Leverage online platforms that already exist in helping set up various donation or fundraising pages instead of building one from scratch. Always pair any fundraising initiative with a marketing campaign that can drive awareness through email and social media. Finally, the more engaging and unique a fundraising initiative is, the more effective in gathering donations and loyalty towards future causes so try to be creative and host more challenging but fun fundraising ideas such a virtual gala or open mic night. Ultimately, remember that regardless of how you get your fundraising initiative in front of an audience, always ensure you’re communicating the cause and impact clearly. Include clear instructions on how to donate and have call to actions throughout to encourage donations.

Fundraising is needed now more than ever with many communities struggling during this pandemic. We hope the above tips will help you with online fundraising for nonprofits.

5 Nonprofit Laws You Should Know

5 Laws Anyone Working in the Nonprofit Industry Should Know

Nonprofit board governance is incredibly rewarding for leaders overseeing a 501 (c) 3 organization. It allows you to grow as a professional while contributing meaningfully to a cause that is near and dear to your heart.

However, with great benefit, there comes great responsibility. State-specific and federal laws for nonprofits apply at every critical point of operation.

In this post, KC cares shows you the top 5 nonprofit laws that everyone working in or with a nonprofit should know. We address issues related to charitable tax laws, employment, accessibility, governance, and intellectual property.

While the laws presented below are general, we highly recommend reviewing the rules that are specific to your state or by speaking with a lawyer who is knowledgeable in this area.

1. 501 (c) 3 Nonprofit Tax Laws Carry Implications and Trade-Offs

Nonprofit organizations appreciate the benefits of receiving tax-exempt status. Not only does it allow you to access tax-savings benefits, but it also helps you create more value for the public you serve.

However, there are tradeoffs of which you must be aware. Meetings, programs, initiatives, and fundraising efforts are all part and parcel of filing as a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit.

Without engaging in these activities, nonprofit leaders put the tax-exempt status at risk. Paying attention to tax laws and their compliance requirements strengthen public policy and demonstrate the credibility of nonprofit organizations as a whole.

2. Employment Laws Apply to Nonprofits Using Contractors

Human capital is easily the most expensive aspect of running a nonprofit organization. It is for this reason that most of us utilize volunteers and contractors strategically.

However, you must be careful with how you use your staff members by not stepping over the lines of worker classification laws. If you are hiring contractors, you must treat them as such. In general, you cannot micromanage them or direct their activities outside of their contractual obligation.

Managing contractors like workers to save money violates most employment laws and can open you up to legal exposure. You either hire someone that you can direct, or you put a contractor in place that you trust. There are no exceptions.

3. There Is a Fiduciary Duty Among Leaders

Board members, officers, and directors have a financial responsibility toward the nonprofit organizations they lead. This concept means that everyone must act in good faith and fair dealing when it comes to fulfilling a duty of care.

By receiving public funds and donations, you have to exercise vigilance with how you use the money, pay taxes, and create new initiatives.

In short, bringing value to every decision requires leaders to live up to their responsibility. Otherwise, serious consequences are on the horizon for individuals and organizations who fail to recognize them.

4. ADA-Compliance Is Not an Option

Understanding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and accompanying laws applies to nonprofits. As an organization that provides public services, you must ensure that they are accessible to everyone, including disabled Americans.

Therefore, it is unlawful to take actions that may exclude these populations. Your communications, facilities, and policies must accommodate all people.

Forgoing this element is wrought with liability and can result in rescinded funding or losing your 501 (c) 3 tax-exempt status. Nonprofit leaders should make it a regular practice to review their ADA-compliance measures and make changes as necessary.

5. Intellectual Property Laws Apply to Nonprofit Organizations

As nonprofits, we are used to private parties, government organizations, and other stakeholders, giving us every tool we need to succeed. However, that notion may bleed over into relevant intellectual property laws.

For example, a less-aware employee may decide that borrowing images or recycling web content is a great way to save time and maximize value. However, that is not always the case.

Nonprofits must supply their original works internally or obtain permission from the author or designer to use protected material lawfully. It is a great way to protect those who are interested in advancing your organization’s mission while ensuring that other’s works receive credit where credit is deservingly due.

Final Thoughts and Considerations

As you can see, nonprofit organizations have a lot to consider from a legal standpoint. Failing to meet these requirements means that you can lose your tax-exempt status and subsequent future funding.

Consider discussing your needs with a nonprofit lawyer in your state or bringing a legal professional to your board of directors. He or she can guide and execute the necessary compliance measures that keep you and your team on the right track.

For more information, check out KC Cares online.

Automation Can Help Your Nonprofit Grow

 

Running a non-profit, by its very nature, is not easy in the slightest.

As an nonprofit owner or small business owner, you’re attempting to run an organization without earning revenue for your own cause. To the uninformed ear, it sounds almost counterintuitive.

So, to mitigate the many challenges faced in this scenario, you operate on a very lean model for the sake of checks and balances

Often, one of the ways you might be looking to cut costs is through avoiding spending anything on technology—namely, automated tools.

Unfortunately, this choice is entirely misguided.

In 2020, there’s no way of surviving as an organization without leveraging such tech to your advantage. The world moves at too fast a pace, and you simply can’t keep up with the lightning speed of the non-profit landscape when technologically handicapping yourself.

Furthermore, these days, affordable technology is plentiful. It’s not like we live in the days of old, where only the elite could afford a basic operating system. The world runs on technology—as though it’s a baseline expectation.

Now, of course, there are tools out there that do cost more than others. Still, there’s a delicate balance, wherein doing the research will find you equal parts affordable and effective automation tech for your non-profit.

The above notion, in and of itself, is something of a science and takes a considered strategic approach. You need to have a firm grasp on where, when, and what automation should be applied.

Therefore, you must read on to find out how the following 10 ways that automation can help your non-profit grow.

 

Managing Your Prospect List with Dashboards

All non-profits are largely dependant on their sizeable list of donors and volunteers. In automating your communications with those two groups, you’ll find yourself with far more time you can dedicate to other crucial tasks.

One of the primary ways these prospect lists can be managed is through the use of dashboard automation.

Task-oriented dashboards for volunteers will empower these individuals to maximize their contributions at their most optimal convenience.

Furthermore, more specialized dashboards will bolster the efforts mobilizers, event organizers, and other personnel focused on engagement. These automated tools can help them work alongside contacts according to interest levels and commitment timelines.

These kinds of dashboards are also useful when it comes to automating the documenting communication for every manner of engagement. This acts as a way to keep everybody involved in the process.

 

Immediate Email Responses to Contact Requests

When it comes to your prospective donors, you must strike when the iron is hot.

For instance, if someone inquires via email with your non-profit, and it takes even slightly too long for a response, that person might take their donation elsewhere. Why? Because you gave them too much to go back and forth and contemplate other organizations.

In fact, waiting as much as 30 minutes leads to a 21x higher chance of losing out on prospective donors.

As such, automation software becomes integral to your efforts. Especially since neither you nor your volunteers aren’t Superman and can’t be everywhere at once.

Automation software allows you to respond immediately to inquiries every time without the need to lift a muscle.

By merely adding a “contact us” form to your website with software that provides the requisite HTML, you won’t need to take requests via email addresses. Once someone fills in the necessary information, they’ll receive a templated email that’ll sound personalized.

Instead of feeling their inquiry might evaporate into a digital abyss, your potential donor will be happy to be acknowledged out of the gate.

Beyond that, the automation software will automatically assign a given volunteer to follow up with the prospective donor.

 

Staying On top of Prospective Donors

Yes, we do live in the digital age where emails, forms, texts, and the written words overall seem to have taken prominence.

However, there are still plenty of people in this world who like the personal touch of talking over the phone. They’ll ignore your contact form and call up your team of volunteers, bypassing the other parts of the process.

This occurrence is optimal as far as forging personal connections with prospective donors. Sadly, in many cases, these leads end up turning into lost opportunities because processes aren’t in place for following up.

Nowadays, it’s entirely plausible to affordably implement automation software that sets up an internal form for when people call your mainline.

The volunteer on the phone only has to enter the potential donor’s contact information and specific notes, then assign a rep to follow up. There’s generally a drop-down menu that makes this process seamless.

The relevant volunteer will be alerted to this new prospect. Plus, a personalized automated introduction email will be sent from the corresponding member of your organization to the potential donor.

 

Strengthening Your Networking

Networking through conferences and various other events is a way to get some serious financial backing for your non-profit.

But without adequate tools in place, your accumulative business cards will amount to nothing. It’s all about taking the next step, which isn’t easy when you’re supposed to get in touch with dozens, if not hundreds, of businesses willing to donate.

With customer relationship management tools, you can take that business card information and tag those people as conference/event contacts. Automation software can then be applied to schedule a follow-up email, be it within the next few minutes or proceeding day.

What’s more, is some tools can streamline the “nice to meet you” email. In fact, various free apps give you the ability to scan business cards with your smartphone camera. It’ll add the prospective donor’s name, contact information, address, and company to your given system.

 

Converting Prospects into Donors

People are quite picky when it concerns their donation. Getting people to put money into your non-profit isn’t going to be a one-step process. There are multiple steps when cultivating a prospect and turning them into a legitimate donor.

With automated technology, it’s possible to see these leads through a donation funnel.

Here’s a brief breakdown of how automation and this unique funnel interweave, harmoniously:

Getting Your Foot in the Door – Automated software assigns a sales rep to contact a prospect once they’ve been identified as a new opportunity.

Getting in Touch –When your volunteer phone rep calls the prospective donor – and the call is answered – you’ll move onto the next stage. Alternatively, if the call goes to voicemail, and an automated email will be sent to follow up.

Getting the Gist – At this point, volunteers will engage and establish a fundamental grasp of the donors’ wants, desires, and what they’re looking for from a non-profit

Getting things Going – Now, it’s been established that your non-profit and the prospect in question make a perfect match. From here, it’s time to close and acquire the donation—which necessitates some tools of its own. These will be discussed in the next section.

Being Efficient in Closing – There’s no point in pushing too hard when someone seems like they’ll remain non-committal towards putting forth a donation. Of course, you can have a strategy for these scenarios. Still, it’d make sense to hone into areas of likelier success.

Really, you don’t want your volunteers wasting time on prospects who aren’t yet prospects. Conversely, you’d prefer they spent their time on people with a genuine interest in your organization, who seemed like they need a gentle nudge to move forward.

There are automation tools and software that allows you to rank your potential donors via engagement with your various marketing efforts. Instead of pushing clients who need a bit more time to commit, you’ll hone into those on the precipice of donating due to the lead scoring tech.

There’s another clear advantage of knowing how close these prospects are to making a donation. You’ll have a firmer understanding of their mindset, which makes it easier to provide messaging that speaks to their frame of mind.

 

Playing the Long Game

As hinted upon in the previous section, not everybody’s going to be willy-nilly ready to donate right away.

The long game played is less aggressive and is focused on nurturing these prospects. Meaning, as opposed to trying to garner a donation conversion in each meeting, you’re more focused on the overall relationship.

In non-profits, relationships are more important than anything. You’re doing something philanthropical and generous, which largely depends on the human connection. And people want to donate to organizations that care about those relationships.

This nurturing process is significantly strengthened via automation since less of these on-the-fence leads to go by the wayside. However, again, it’ll also ensure that your team can focus its efforts more efficiently and not push these individuals too hard.

Specifically, it’s possible to send automated emails to a lead with informative collateral. Ensure they’re given an option regarding how frequently they’re receiving emails. There’s usually a “contact us” button in these emails, wherein an automated notification will alert your team to get in touch with the prospect.

 

Receiving Multiple Donation from the Same Donor

Loyalty is massive with non-profits. Your overall goal should be to foster enough of a relationship with donors that they feel compelled to donate to your cause continually. You don’t want them to be one-and-done. As that usually means they’ve decided to take their loyalties elsewhere.

Don’t allow your current donors to come to you to make donations. Prompts should be automated to nurture future contributions. The frequency of this messaging would primarily depend on your various donation initiatives and cycles.

For some non-profits, twice or three times yearly is enough, whereas others might be a bit higher depending on the nature of the organization.

If you provide a “make a donation” button in the email, and your donor uses online payments, you can further streamline the process. They won’t have to worry about contacting a rep or the rest of the original funnel.

 

Acquiring Vital Feedback

If you intend to foster a community of donors, you need to reach out and potentially find where you might be going wrong. On the other hand, it’s also vital to know what you’re doing right so that you can center your efforts around those aspects.

Finding out this information is primarily dependent on sending out donor surveys. With automated software, send a survey link – through email – to regular and recent donors.

You can find out why people have chosen your non-profit for their donation and what they liked and disliked about your recruitment efforts.

Beyond that, you can also send automated emails with survey links to lapsed donors. By targeting these individuals, these surveys can let you know if your organization has maintained its initial vision and mission over time. Because, in many cases, donors stop contributing because they feel a non-profit has lost its way.

 

Finding New Donors Through Referrals 

Did you know that 84% of people trust recommendations from people that they know?

And during a time where integrity is a big sticking point with charities and non-profits, those recommendations can mean the world. It’s not a hugely tricky concept to grasp. People generally trust the words of their friends and family over advertising and other marketing collateral—because they know they aren’t being actively persuaded.

Though, this word-of-mouth buzz isn’t going to manifest itself out of thin air. Your organization has to act as something of a catalyst in this process.

You can send automated emails asking for referrals. Now, one advantage that for-profit organizations have here is they can more freely offer incentives for referrals, such as coupons. However, even sending some kind of gift or another sentimental token of appreciation can go a long way in encouraging referrals.

When donors provide the contact information of their friend into a web form, automation tools will notify the relevant volunteer to reach out to that person. You must reach out via phone-call since you’d be emailing someone without their direct permission. Generally, this scenario leads to emails being categorized as spam.

These are just a few ways automation can help your nonprofit grow! Do you have more? Let us know! We would be happy to include them.

How to Setup Your Nonprofit for Success in 2020

As the year comes to a close, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the last twelve months and plan for a successful 2020. The new year will bring new opportunities and challenges. Knowing what matters most to the success of your nonprofit will keep you and your team on track and aligned with your goals. Here are eight things to consider as you evaluate what went well and what needs a little extra attention, so you can hit the ground running in 2020.

1. Tidy up your databases

Nonprofit fundraising is only as good as the data that fuels it. Year-end is the ideal time to go through your databases with a fine-tooth comb. Clean up donor records. Remove duplicates. Make sure each entry is complete and updated with accurate information.

Does your current technology support the dashboards and analytics you need to collect information about donors, tax records, volunteers, and other information that is critical to your organization? If not, a new technology platform might be at the top of your wish list in 2020. Document your needs and the gaps in your current solution as you do your data housekeeping. It will make it much easier to find the best solution to fit your needs when you’re ready to shop around.

2. Optimize giving for mobile users

Simplicity is at the core of donor retention and acquisition. If it’s not simple for your donor population to research your organization and make a donation, they won’t do it. Mobile donations have increased by over 200% in the last year. By ensuring your online giving options offer the same user experience on smartphones and laptops, you’ll make it quick and easy for people to support your organization on any device they choose.

3. Plan your social strategy

With over 3.5 billion users worldwide, social media has quickly become a valuable nonprofit marketing tactic. Not only is it a great vehicle for sharing information with a large network of potential donors, but it’s also critical for volunteer recruitment and communications.

Create a rough calendar for the type and frequency of content you want to share in 2020. Decide which platforms you’ll focus on and how you’ll handle engagement and questions from followers. Your network will quickly lose interest in your organization if you don’t post frequent, valuable content and make it a point to proactively engage with your audience.

4. Gear up for matching gift campaigns

Many companies (large and small) offer matching gifts to encourage a sense of philanthropy among their employees. Reach out to your network and ask if their companies offer matching funds. Ask if you can submit information about your organization for possible inclusion in the program. It’s the quickest way to double the impact of a gift and encourage more people to participate in philanthropy and community outreach. As more people learn about your nonprofit, you might even gain a few volunteers along the way.

5. Repurpose content

You know it’s important to publish content at a regular pace to keep your audience interested in and up to date on your cause. The biggest challenge is finding the time to create new material. Many marketers make the mistake of thinking they can only use each piece of content once. That’s not the case, and it’s not in the best interest of busy nonprofits.

Take an inventory of the content you have today. High-quality content can be broken up into social posts, mini-blogs, quotes, infographics, and more. Each piece holds its own purpose and appeals to a specific audience. Don’t be afraid to leverage your hard work in a multitude of ways.

6. Organize your website

If you haven’t looked at your website in a while (really looked at it), it’s time to comb through it with a critical eye. Put yourself in the position of a visitor. Do the pages load quickly enough? Are there any broken links? Potential donors and volunteers won’t suffer through a website that isn’t intuitive to navigate or one that is rife with errors.

Equally important is to make sure you’ve updated your copyright language and privacy statements. Make sure security icons and protocols are prominently placed where potential donors can see them. With so much cyberhacking and identity theft in the world, donors simply won’t offer up their payment information on a site that doesn’t appear secure or legitimate.

7. Thank your supporters

In this season of thankfulness and reflection, go the extra mile to thank your donor organization for their support. Even if you set aside just one hour to leave a brief voice mail for your top supporters, the extra touch will mean much more than an email or mass-produced card. From a pragmatic standpoint, those contacts will also be much more likely to remember you when they plan their yearly giving. Personalized gestures of thanks go a long way in making people feel like they are valued members of your organization instead of just a checkbook.

8. Engage with volunteers

As you’re thanking the people who support your nonprofit financially, don’t forget those who roll up their sleeves and work alongside you to accomplish the goals of your organization. As you reach out to say thank you, ask for their feedback on what went well during the year from a volunteer perspective. Ask them how the organization can improve. Above all, find ways to incorporate that feedback in the new year to make sure your volunteer network knows that their input matters.

No one understands your mission as well as you do. As you pause to reflect on the successes and challenges of 2019, small steps like these eight will pave the way for a productive new year. If you’d like to learn more, check out some of our podcasts about donor retention and fundraising.