The start of a new year is always a time filled with promise for a charity.
Energy levels have been restored. Staff are motivated. And with a blank canvas for the year ahead comes a time to do things differently.
While charity budgets are traditionally tighter than in the corporate sector, there’s no reason charities shouldn’t be striving to continually improve processes and increase efficiencies just like any other industry.
Make this year the best year yet for your organisation. Here are seven New Year’s resolutions that will help a charity further its mission and increase impact in the community.
1) Stop storing data manually
Holding any form of data on basic platforms (or worse, on paper or manually in Excel spreadsheets) is a risk to data integrity and therefore the future of the charity.
System failures and human error are commonplace with basic systems and can compromise data and put fundraising efforts in jeopardy.
In 2020: Introduce sophisticated donor management software that can keep data secure. Integrated systems remove room for error and help charities gain a better insight into individual supporters.
2) Implement a structured volunteer program
Most, if not all, charities are built on foundations laid by a team of volunteers. Working towards a cause for no gain other than to make an impact, unpaid members of the team are a valuable asset to any charity. Failing to structure their place in the team strategically, however, can hinder their full potential.
In 2020: Implement a structured volunteer program that will take a charity to the next level. Use a rostering system, tag volunteers in the database to create a structured communication plan, match skillsets to tasks and implement a well-thought-out interview and induction process. When coordinated effectively, volunteers are as beneficial to a charity’s progression as paid members of staff.
3) Abandon programs that no longer work
One of the most significant burdens on time and resources is persevering with a program, campaign or event that no longer works simply because it once did. Part of the art of fundraising is combining creativity with the ability to meet the ever-changing needs of donors. This talent facilitates delivery of campaigns that supporters want to be a part of instead of those you believe should be a good idea.
In 2020: Analyse data regarding ongoing campaigns and programs to identify trends in success. If a campaign is on the downward spiral in not only income but also acquisition and output, look for opportunities to make changes or consider investing time and resources elsewhere.
4) Communicate personally with donors
The success of fundraising is built on the quality of relationships with donors. As well as the power of appeals, this also refers to the dialogue between the charity and its supporters including how donors are thanked, and how well they understand what the charity needs from them (and vice versa).
In 2020: A structured donor stewardship program is essential. Regular reporting will help identify those donors who should receive phone calls or house visits. Send donor surveys to get to know supporters better and find out what they want from you. After every communication, update the donor record with every detail mentioned (such as holidays attended, family information) and notable events like birthdays and anniversaries. No matter how trivial this may seem, this information must be readily available in all communication to help build and strengthen critical donor relationships.
5) Regularly publish outcomes
An essential element of successful fundraising is showing donors the results of their support. Avoid making donors feel like their gift has gone into a big black hole by regularly communicating how they’ve been part of successful outcomes for the charity.
In 2020: Create a structured 12-month communication and events plan that includes newsletters, email marketing, social media updates and ‘thank you’ events for supporters. It’s critical that supporters hear from you regularly to understand the impact of their giving.
6) Diversify revenue streams
Relying only on one or two streams of income puts a charity at risk. While guaranteed government or corporate funding may comfortably help a charity run all year, this stifles room for growth and creates an ‘eggs in one basket’ model.
In 2020: Make plans to build between eight and ten revenue channels to minimise reliance on one source of funding. Examples of programs may include:
- Regular giving
- Corporate partnerships
- Peer-to-peer fundraising initiatives
- Donation tins
- Gifts in Will
- Major and community events
7) Segment data
Donors carefully consider appeals to decide who to give their hard-earned money to for nothing in return.
Make sure yours is a two-way relationship that leads to future support by speaking to donors as individuals rather than through mass communication that fails to address (at a minimum) their name and relationship to the charity.
In 2020: There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to donor contact. Always segment communications based on the charity-donor journey, giving history and personal information.
Consider tagging donors to avoid thanking a volunteer for monetary support or assuming a long-term donor has only given once. Tags may include:
- First-time donors
- Long-term donors
- Event attendees
- Corporate partners or sponsors
In 2020, SupporterHub can help a charity keep its New Year’s resolutions and build strong relationships with donors that will last long into the future. As a fully integrated SRM and marketing and data tracking system, SupporterHub is progressive, easy-to-use and cost-effective.
To find out about a FREE trial available to charities across Australia, contact us today.