Ready or not 2021 is here! Most of us had no idea what 2020 would bring and we are fairly confident no-one can predict 2021. But we can still plan. And that is what fundraising is all about: planning. And action. With this column we share three ways to jumpstart your fundraising. Each is a combination of planning and action.
First, its time to redefine. Take a moment to re-affirm and if needed redefine your mission, goals, and priorities. These are at the heart of fundraising, so time spent on this will focus your fundraising for the year. 2020 was full of change: some organizations found new strengths, took advantage of opportunities, and rose to the many demands made by those they serve. Others had to pivot, operate differently, and create new partnerships. The changes you went through may fundamentally change how your nonprofit operates; they may be temporary; or you may find your organization on a new and more impactful journey.
This is also time to review your fundraising plan against results. Take a look to see what you were able to implement. Who are your new donors and supporters? Which weren’t able to give in 2020? Did your sources of revenue change? For many, fee for service income fell as people restricted their activities. Others received gifts and grants they did not anticipate.
Action steps: update your case for support, social media messaging, talking points, and fundraising appeals based on your mission, vision, priorities and fundraising plan. For each of your anticipated revenue sources, define a fundraising goal and determine how many donors you need to engage and solicit, and at what amount.
Second, review your fundraising capacity and infrastructure before you get “too busy.” Do you have the right people engaged as staff, volunteers, and board members? How is your donor management system? Is the information accurate and up-to-date? Are there features you’ve intended to use but haven’t yet implemented.
Action steps: Host an orientation session and share your fundraising goals for the year with staff, volunteers, and board. Learn how each wants to be involved. Set individual and group fundraising goals. Record these in your donor management system and use your technology more fully. Get a fresh look for enewsletters, videos, and progress reports and share them using all available media channels.
Third, make it personal. While COVID-19 restrictions mean that in person fundraising events and conversations are still in the future, it remains important to infuse your fundraising with a personal touch. That means thank you notes and emails are more important than ever, and phone calls are back in vogue. Video messages can also help retain the personal touch; but keep them short.
Action steps: Send a short note or email or make a call to each of your top 10 donors to say thank you and update them on your plans. Call and thank a few donors you don’t know. Create a short video on your plans for 2021 and share with your donors and supporters.
[Copyright 2021 – Mel and Pearl Shaw of Saad&Shaw – Comprehensive Fund Development Services. Let us help you plan for 2021 Video and phone conferencing services always available. Call us at (901) 522-8727. www.saadandshaw.com. ]