Here we are in a brand new year, and plenty of you have likely made resolutions that you vow to keep in 2018. Whether it’s self-betterment goals or breaking bad habits, a new year is a time of new beginnings, and that goes double for your charity or nonprofit. No matter how successful a year 2017 may have been, there’s always room for improvement and evolution, which is why your nonprofit should have some resolutions as well!
Here are three goals that your nonprofit should be striving for not just this January, but throughout 2018:
Utilize the power of social media
So your nonprofit has a Twitter page and a Facebook profile, and you think that’s enough to get the word out on your cause and communicate with your donors and prospects. In fact, you’re doing the bare minimum with those two accounts – and even less so if you don’t have a frequent, active schedule for updates.
In 2018, make a resolution to dedicate more time to social media, including putting together a comprehensive content calendar, actively monitoring your channels, and engaging with both your current supporters and those you’d like to attract. If you don’t have a dedicated hire to do this, be sure to look for one. A content and/or social media manager can be a huge piece of a successful nonprofit’s marketing team, so perhaps another resolution should be to create and hire for this position!
It’s also important to focus on other platforms, like Instagram, Snapchat, or Pinterest, and seeing how you can use their storytelling abilities to elevate your cause. Plus, there are new social media platforms and mediums coming out all the time – why not get ahead of the curve by trying out new things? Which brings us to our second resolution:
Don’t be afraid to go out of the box
There are tons of worthy charities out there for people to donate money to – how does yours stand out from the pack? If you’re just doing the exact same strategies as everyone else, there’s a good chance that your cause will be lost in the shuffle.
Make 2018 the year that your nonprofit tries something new in terms of marketing. Experiment with new ideas, have weekly brainstorms, and get in touch with different demographics to see how well different targeted ad campaigns perform. You can incorporate new strategies through the social media we discussed earlier, or you could explore new advertising capabilities both digitally and in print.
With so many avenues and creative outlets available to you both now and in the near future, it’d be a shame not to try out some big – even disruptive – ideas to bring your cause message to the masses. It could even bring in a whole new audience of lifelong supporters – the trick is just taking that single step potentially out of your comfort zone.
Keep testing and troubleshooting
All that said, don’t be discouraged if your resolutions aren’t giving you top results right away. Trying out new things really is all about trial and error, and the entire process ought to be marked with check-ins and testing along the way. (If you haven’t already set out measurable benchmarks for where you’ve started and what you want to achieve out of these efforts, now is definitely the time!)
For example, are you taking the time to troubleshoot digital assets like your website or online donation form? There could be simple errors that may be hidden pain points preventing you from gathering more donations. Or maybe you need to frequently check the open rate on that revamped round of email drips that you’re sending to prospects.
For all the work you’re putting into trying new things – be it on social media or otherwise – you also need to be following up, testing, and troubleshooting to ensure that you’re getting the biggest bang for your efforts. So in 2018, make a concentrated resolution to not just sit back on your laurels once you’ve launched a new online campaign or donor website – keep checking to see that it’s working at its optimal rate.
Feel free to use the above three resolutions as a starting point for your charity’s own resolutions for 2018 – much like an individual’s own personal life goals, a nonprofit ought to constantly be looking for ways to refine good habits, break bad habits, and try new things!
Caitlin Hotchkiss is the content and social media manager for FrontStream, covering all the best and latest news and tips for fundraising success. With many years as an online influencer, she works to stay ahead of the trends by keeping one eye on upcoming online tools and the other on established favorites, spreading the good word of charities and nonprofits across the digital landscape.
This blog was adapted from the recent Flash Class by NeonCRM and Nonprofit Garden, partners of DonorSearch.
One of the more frustrating situations that can occur when rolling out a major campaign is having different departments articulate different messages to donors. The marketing team may be focusing on highlighting stories about a specific program while your major gift officers are reaching out and telling a story around an unrelated capital campaign.
Being able to create a cohesive end to end campaign is the key to success to long term growth and sustainability, since it ensures not only are all stakeholders working towards a common goal but also utilizing the same messaging to create a powerful unified conversation with your donors.
Yet how does one go about creating a full circle strategy that envelopes all stakeholders? Let’s take the time and present a few key strategies when it comes to operating as a nimble nonprofit. As a starting point, we’ll tackle traditional fundraising, web design, and social media coordination to create a cohesive campaign for any size organization.
Many nonprofits miss some critical steps when preparing for either an annual campaign or a major expansion of services that need to be funded through donations. There needs to be a solid foundation that is established before any revenue initiative is started and there’s six steps that we have identified on where to begin:
Set the foundation – review last year’s campaigns and use that data to set a benchmark
Create an action plan – identify key team members, budgets, and timelines that need to be involved through the entire campaign, not just the beginning and end
Put it into focus – create a donor focused theme that ties all messaging together
Know your audience – segment your lists, with giving data being used as a starting point
Craft the ask – dust off those mail merge skills and make it personal
Follow through – it isn’t just about obtaining the gift but about long term relationship building