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.