I love year-end planning. It forces me to reflect on what worked this past year and what didn't. While many nonprofit practitioners are setting personal resolutions at this time of year, I think it's equally important that nonprofits set resolutions too. Here are three that are at the top of my list. Join me and kick them off in early January.
Reconnect With Your Donors
Year-end fundraising can put a strain on your donors. They are being bombarded with fundraising appeals from multiple organizations. This can leave organizations with higher than usual unsubscribe rates. But most importantly it can make donors feel like they are being treated like an ATM machine. In early 2015, make a concerted effort to reconnect with your donors. For example, you can ask their opinion on new programs you are considering launching. Send some of your most active donors hand written thank you notes and let them know specifically what kind of an impact their support has had over the past year.
Review Your Goals and Make Sure They Are Tangible
Several organizations that I work with have very large goals like ending world hunger or ending global warming. Those are some worthy goals but I'm not convinced that any of us will see them attained in our lifetime. Many of your potential donors and activists feel the same way. Early this year, sit down with your team and think about the large goals you have set. Be honest, are these goals attainable in the near future? (And by the near future I don’t mean in 10 or 20 years.) If not, identify what tangible goals are attainable and how activists and donors can you help your organization meet those goals. This does not mean you can’t work towards long term goals, but donors and activists expect to see impact if they are going to continue to support your organization.
Review Your Online Strategy. Are You Diversified?
In 2010 nonprofits heavily invested in Facebook. They thought email was dying and that social networks like Facebook would be the new channel to raise money and inspire activism. This dream never really panned out for most nonprofits. With Facebook's changes in algorithms and pay to play model, the average Facebook page reaches 2% of likers. In terms of donations, direct mail is still the number one way most nonprofits raise money. And emails lists are still golden, though admittedly it gets more challenging every year to sustain conversion rates. In 2015, review your online strategy.
- Are you overly invested in one online channel that is not reaching a good chunk of your audience? Are there others that you should test in 2015 that could be a better fit.
- Are you overly invested in an online channel that is not giving you a good return on investment?
- Is your website mobile responsive?
- What does your email list growth strategy look like for 2015? Is it realistic? Do you have a budget to allocate to make sure your meet your email list growth strategy? It should include a combination of organic and paid recruitment. (BTW, check out Care2’s list growth services if you plan to pursue paid recruitment in 2015.).
- Do you have an online editorial calendar? If so, what can you do to improve it and make some of the content more engaging for your target audiences?
What other resolutions are you considering for 2015?