Here are some great posts, plus a bit of personal advice, to set you up for success in the coming year. It’s going to be a busy one, so may as well figure out what you should – and should not – be doing. It will make your life a lot easier and more fulfilling. Let’s get right to it!
Click-It: What Nonprofits Should Start Doing in 2014: Advice From the Experts highlights trends you should seriously consider in the year ahead. There’s also a link to more advice and ideas in a special Outlook section of the Chronicle of Philanthropy. In a nutshell, think more about: metrics; retention; crowdfunding; outcome-focused stewardship; multi-generational giving and visuals.
Click-it: What Nonprofits Should Stop Doing in 2014: Advice From the Experts. These are really more “to-do’s” framed as things you should stop ignoring or doing poorly. The Chronicle of Philanthropy highlights: indiscriminate use of social media; failure to pay attention to mid-level donors; too infrequent communication about impact; fearing use of mobile technology and shying away from experimentation.
NOTE: These are all great tips. My only concern? I was hoping for a genuine list of what nonprofits should STOP doing (making room for new starts). While I don’t disagree with any of the tips provided, in order for most folks to take on new stuff they’ve got to take old stuff off the list. There are still only 24 hours/day and 7 days/week. (And, hopefully, folks are sleeping some of these hours!). As management guru Peter F. Drucker famously stated:
“If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old” ―
If I had to list my top tips for 2014 from these articles they’d be:
1. Focus more on the 2nd gift… and the 3rd and the 4th. Your future is not in one-time transactions. It’s in transformational, long-term donor investment.
2. Do more outcome-focused reporting and stewardship. Help folks see the impact of their investment with you.
3. Use visuals more; they tell a story like nobody’s business, and are adaptable for even the short-form media we’re so fond of in our digital world today. In fact, tell more stories every which way you can.
4. Be strategic about use of social media, and develop and manage a content marketing plan that develops your brand and engages old and new constituents. Offer meaningful content that’s truly helpful.
5. Be user-friendly. This means engaging in media platforms and tools used by your constituents. If that’s mobile, then be sure your website and emails are mobile-optimized. Don’t force folks to play your game; play theirs’.
Trend: Mobile Ready?
Click-it: Leaving Donations on the Screen. Of all the trends we’ll see in 2014, the transition from reading email on a computer to reading it on the phone may be the most significant when it comes to nonprofit marketing and fundraising. The Agitator editors are talking about it often, and there’s a good reason – increasingly folks are reading your email there. You’ve put in a lot of time and resources to get them to “click”, yet you’re ignoring the fact that you’re going to lose them because they can’t read what you’ve sent them on their phone. This is the year to fix this!
Listen up: Major Gift Fundraising
Click-It: Listen to Me Please. No one understands major gift donors better than Richard Perry and Jeff Schreifels of the Veritus Group. In this post, they relate the story of a major donor who was tired of feeling that all folks cared about was her money. I know you know better than to treat major donors like ATMs. But do you really walk the talk? Or do you just phone it in? Donors can tell. If you don’t care about your donors – really care – then you may be in the wrong business. Read this article.
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Photo: Flickr, Isaac Torronterra