Work smarter not harder: Five ways to improve efficiencies within a busy fundraising office 3 months ago

With the best of intentions, charities are rarely established with streamlined processes in place, ample resource and access to appropriate equipment.

Regardless of the current income bracket of a charity, an active non-profit has grown from a seed of an idea and evolved by navigating stretched budgets and adapting processes in line with growth.

While this is the most common way for non-profits to achieve and build upon a mission, charity workers may find that the demands of the organisation are consistently unaligned with available resources.

To improve efficiencies within a charity, particularly a busy fundraising office, follow our recommendations to increase both income and impact:

1) Create a structured volunteer program
A volunteer program is one of the most pivotal elements of fundraising.
Fortunately, these days volunteer support extends much further than traditional unpaid roles such as events and coin collections.

Utilise volunteers with an office administration capacity just as you would paid staff. Recruit based on skills that will assist with the most pressing tasks, create a roster, commit to professional development, recognise achievements and ensure volunteers understand the importance of their contribution.

With a structured volunteer program in place, you can free-up paid staff from repetitive administration tasks and assign to members of the community who are eager to help a good cause, upskill, or increase their contribution to society.

How?
• Organise a community open day event with existing volunteers and encourage sign-ups.
• Contact local volunteering agencies and ask them to help identify skilled volunteers (perhaps those on a return-to-work program).
• Engage regularly with past volunteers or prospects with a emails sent regularly from an easy-to-use communication platform.

2) Automate processes
Automation is the key to success in a busy fundraising office. Unfortunately, because of the time and energy involved in changing existing processes, it’s often easier to continue with manual processes in favour of reviewing and implementing new systems.

How?
Processes to consider automating may include:

• Customer database
If reliance on spreadsheet records and manual updates still exists, a CRM database solution will assist accurate record keeping to save time and reduce any room for error that exists with basic systems.

• Reporting
By drawing and analysing complex data from more than one source, you risk inaccurate figures and spending more time than necessary providing reports.

A database with comprehensive data analysis and reporting functionality can meet all reporting needs from executive level board summaries to basic stats required for key messaging.

• Anything repetitive
Any tasks that you need to do more than once a day are ideal considerations for automation. Provide a comprehensive workflow of all your regular tasks (such as entering cheque donations) and look for as many ways to work smarter, not harder.

3) Utilise support from the rest of the company
Fundraising offices are notoriously understaffed, and, with a responsibility to manage every donated dollar responsibly, with good reason.
Look for opportunities to second staff from other areas of the organisation to help reduce workload and increase understanding across the company of processes and challenges faced.

How?
Engage with part-time employees from other departments to provide the opportunity to contribute to the charitable side of the organisation for a few hours a week on their off time.

4) Keep the fun in ‘fun’draising

In a busy office with phones ringing and pressure to meet targets, it can be easy to succumb to the workplace stress and fail to relish the impact you’re making on the community. To avoid burnout and to keep staff performing at full capacity, make a conscious effort to keep the environment FUN and never forget why you started. Creating a fun working environment will keep staff and volunteers engaged with the wider mission, motivated, and always willing to go the extra mile for your cause.

How?
• Arrange regular catch ups with the team and support network.

• Acknowledge and reward weekly or monthly achievements with a staff lunch or informal morning tea.

• Prioritise social engagements which give a consistent opportunity to thank the team and communicate the progress of projects and developments within the organisation.

• Acknowledge and reward weekly or monthly achievements with a staff lunch or informal morning tea.

• Prioritise social engagements which give a consistent opportunity to thank the team and communicate the progress of projects and developments within the organisation.

5) Keep accurate donor records
Assess how much time is spent on phone calls and communication correcting misspelt personal information and inaccurate information.
If this communication is frequent, a comprehensive donor management platform will help you avoid administrative errors that create unnecessary work to rectify.

SupporterHub is an easy-to-use cloud-based tool that will help keep and maintain accurate donor records to reduce the time spent manually rectifying errors.

There’s no doubt that a busy fundraising office is an inspiring place to be however failing to work in the most efficient manner can lead to burnout. Increasing efficiencies in these areas will increase the capacity of the staff to help you grow even further.

To find out more about how SupporterHub can help you increase efficiencies, contact us today.