As we close in on the end of the first quarter of 2017, my big question for you is this:
Will you meet your Q1 goals?
Do you even HAVE quarterly goals?
Setting goals for the year is smart. Breaking those annual goals down into quarterly ones is even smarter. Breaking those into monthly goals is brilliant.
It’s easier to stay on track. It’s not so overwhelming. And it’s easier to share those goals with other staff, Board, and volunteers.
If you haven’t done that, it’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Just carve out a little time and set those quarterly and monthly goals for the rest of the year.
You’ll be a smarter, more successful fundraiser.
Know what else will make you more successful? Following these 9 things that smart nonprofits are doing to raise more money this year.
1. They’re being flexible with their plan. First, they have a fundraising plan. Smart nonprofits know that they won’t reach their goals if they don’t have a roadmap laid out. Second, that plan is in writing, because smart nonprofits know that if it’s not in writing, it’s not real. Once they start implementing that plan, they allow some flexibility. Things change, and if your fundraising plan is set in stone, it’s not going to work. You’ll miss great opportunities if you follow your plan too rigidly.
Here’s my own personal take on what to do when plans change unexpectedly.
2. They’re following one system. They’ve stopped scooping up free content on the internet. Instead of catching this free webinar and reading that free ebook, they’re following one, integrated method for fundraising that works for them. It prevents them from wasting a lot of time trying piece their fundraising together, which doesn’t really work anyway. These days, we’re all drowning in info, yet thirsting for wisdom. Smart nonprofits know it makes more sense to follow ONE system for best results.
3. They’re connecting donors’ hearts with clients’ needs. In other words, they’re not asking people to support their annual fund or help reach their goals. Donors don’t care. Smart nonprofits are asking their donors to give to help change lives. I heard it said recently that “donors don’t give TO you, they give THROUGH you” which means that donors want to help you make a difference in the world. So, smart nonprofits are asking “Please help us eliminate this waiting list so people can get the help they need” instead of “Help us reach our goal to fund our budget.” See the difference?
4. They’re dishing out regular inspiration. Donors give when they feel something, and inspiration can definitely move them toward pulling out their wallet. Smart nonprofits are staying in touch with their donors. Regularly. Like monthly. They’re sending updates from the trenches and video stories from the kids in their programs. Their newsletters are short and fun to read, and always make the donor feel good about their decision to give. Smart nonprofits know that relationships require consistent communication to thrive, and since good fundraising is based on relationships, they’re committed to providing good communication, full of feelz and inspiration.
5. They’re focusing more on transformation and less on transaction. There are two kinds of fundraising: transactional (where donors get something in exchange for their gift) and transformational (where donors give to feel good and transform a life). It’s easy to get on the hamster wheel of transaction and have event after event or sell calendars and T-shirts and candy bars and on it goes. It’s okay to have SOME transactional activities, but smart nonprofits are doing more transformational fundraising. They’re focusing on asking people to give to support the change they’re making in someone’s life. They know that transformational giving is more sustainable in the long run.
6. They’re playing to their strengths. Smart fundraisers know they can’t do everything. They know what their strengths are, and they play to them. Then they get help with the rest. They are recruiting volunteers to routinely cover jobs that they themselves don’t need to do, like stuffing envelopes, picking up silent auction items, and even cleaning the toilet. Smart fundraisers know that delegating more tasks frees them up to spend their time on the things that only they can do. It makes them more effective, more creative and prevents burnout.
7. They’re growing their monthly giving program. One gift of $10 is great, but a monthly gift of $10 is way better. Smart nonprofits know that monthly giving provides ongoing, sustainable revenue for their organization. It shows incredible loyalty from the donor, and makes the donor feel really good about making an ongoing difference in the world. Smart nonprofits are actively looking for ways to find new donors making small, medium, and large monthly donations.
8. They’re more conversational in their communications. No one likes to read something that is full of acronyms and jargon. We get lost and bored and stop reading. Smart nonprofits know that making their newsletters, thank-you letters and social media more conversational actually draws people in. Conversational writing and videos are easier to understand and take action on. And that’s what’s important. Doesn’t matter how good your communications are if people don’t read/watch/listen then take the action you want them to take.
9. They’re building their donor base.One of the keys to fully funding your budget is having a big, loyal donor base. These people LOVE your cause and will give often and give big to support your work. Smart nonprofits know this and are ALWAYS looking for ways to attract more people to the family. They always get permission before adding anyone to the list (otherwise it’s spam!) and once they have new donors, they do a great job of welcoming them aboard.
Great strategies, huh?
It’s what I’m seeing my clients doing – the clients that are hitting the ball out of the park and raising tons of money.
And it’s what I know will work for you, too.
Follow these 9 strategies and you’ll be right there among the smart nonprofits in no time!