18 Resolutions for the small nonprofit organization in 2011

December 29, 2010

  1. Resolve to master the art of persuasive copy-writing.  No no no, not your typical ‘non-profit speak,’ but persuasive copywriting.  Watch infomercials (I’m serious).  Take a creative writing course.  Read any one of Tom Ahern’s books.  As you read what you’ve written, ask yourself “would I care?”
  2. Develop systems.  Within your systems, establish small daily or weekly habits – such as 30 minutes daily of foundation research or spending 30 minutes on the phone with donors.
  3. Quit copying your peers.
  4. Learn how to use email effectively.
  5. Resolve to leave your comfort zone.   Before signing up for another AFP workshop, consider attending an email marketing seminar or even a Dale Carnegie training.
  6. Establish the processes to build relationships with grant funders – just as you do your donors.  A declination is an opportunity for further communication.
  7. Integrate your communications.  Online, direct mail, email, social media – it needs to be cohesive.
  8. Via Tom Ahern:  “Be different. Be fun. Be authentic.”
  9. There’s more to social media than updating your Facebook status or posting blast tweets on Twitter.  Learn how to use social media to engage.
  10. Excel is not a database.  Lose it.  If you’re keeping your data in Excel, know your criteria for a database, evaluate three providers and select one.  Make sure that training and support are key components.
  11. Spend money on training.  Yes, when I was a nonprofit employee, with one exception, none of my employers paid for any training.  Guess what?  I bought books and attended seminars on my own dime.  Invest in yourself.
  12. Start a monthly giving program.  This one’s a no-brainer – need I say more?
  13. Educate your board on fundraising.  This one doesn’t involve hiring a one-time ‘board trainer’ for your next retreat.  It involves developing a – dare I say fun? – culture of fundraising within your board.  One very simple way to start is by sharing a clip from the Movie Mondays series Top 10 Best Movies for Helping Board Members at the beginning of every board meeting.
  14. Take a hula hoop to work.  When the stress gets to be too much incorporate a little joy and movement into your day.
  15. Learn how to re-purpose content for different donor communications channels.
  16. Communicate more.  Yes, I know that studies consistently show that donors are turned off by organizations who over-communicate or over-solicit.  Trust me, the small, community-based nonprofit organization rarely falls into that category.
  17. Take charge and take responsibility.
  18. Say thank you.  Again and again and again.  And again.  Create a stewardship system and put it in writing.

Want more?  Check out Simple Development Systems: Successful fundraising for the one-person shop, the only book written specifically for the “small shop” nonprofit organization!

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