January 7, 2016 Douglas Shaw & Associates

A new year always sparks new optimism, and many of us welcomed 2016 with lofty goals. Eating less and exercising more are generally good things for your health, but what about the health of your fundraising campaign?

With a few simple resolutions, you can boost your fundraising efforts in 2016.

Handwritten Notes – make it a point to write a handwritten note not in direct response to a donation at least once a week.  Give a major donor an update, welcome a new donor to the organization or thank someone for an anniversary of giving.

Ask More Questions – Pick up the phone and call a handful of donors to find out what they think are the greatest priorities for your organization.  Make them feel even more vested in your success.

Stay on Top of the Numbers – Not just the dollars raised number, but create a plan to review other data – campaign effectiveness, average donation amounts, and response rates. What is the health of your donor file – is the number of active donors growing?

Take a Fresh Look at Old Tools – Is your thank you note getting stale?  How about the copy you use to describe your organization?  January is a great time to take a red pen to the existing material and make it contemporary.

Use “Donor-centered” Language – Talk with your donors, not at them.  Use language to show them how they’re essential to your efforts and making progress happen.

Ban Idea-Killing Language – If “we tried that before” or “we can’t go to the well again” are frequently heard in your staff meetings, make a concerted effort to stem the tide.  How about a dollar in the jar for every violation?

Relationships Checkup – Assess your relationships with your agencies, your designers, your mailing house and other partnerships.  Set the bar for communication and fundraising results this year to support your professional goals.