Developing effective habits as a fundraiser is crucial to meet goals and identify new opportunities. Learn how to maximize your fundraising efforts today!
Fundraisers make an extraordinary impact on the world. More funding means a chance to advance your organization’s mission and help the cause you care so deeply about.
Even still, we know that being a fundraiser can be challenging. That’s why we're sharing our top five tips to make your work life that little bit easier so you can dedicate more time to reflecting on the incredible difference you’re making.
- Set your goals at the beginning of each fiscal year, as well as benchmarks to track your progress along the way. In addition to total dollars raised, set specific goals for key aspects of fundraising so that you can better analyze your progress, such as total number of donors, total number of new donors, average donation amount, number of social media followers, and more. Designate specific times to check your results—we recommend doing so at least once a month—and use these regular intervals to celebrate your successes and determine anywhere you may need to improve. Dedicating time to review your progress will give you plenty of opportunities to update your goals and plans and stay on track to be where you want to be—or better!—by the end of the year.
- Keep an organized record of all your donations so that you can quickly and easily pick up on new trends. Finding opportunities within your donor pool can be challenging, but with the right technology, you can segment and customize your communications strategy with ease. Network for Good’s simple, smart fundraising software makes it easy to keep track of your donations, get valuable insights right in your dashboard without needing to run extra reports, and see an up-to-date picture of each of your contacts and how they are interacting with your organization. Make sure you can see who is an active donor, a lapsed donor, and a non-donor so that you can create custom mailing lists and send out tailored communications and appeals, such as a lapsed donor campaign early on each calendar year.
- Regularly analyze the results of your communications. Whether you’re sending out direct mail appeals, email blasts, video messages, or text messages, we know how valuable your time is and how important it is to make your communications as effective as possible. Review your highest open and click through rates and think about whether those communications have anything in common. Does asking a question or including the recipient’s first name in a subject line produce higher open rates? What about sending it out on a particular day of the week? Use your results to optimize future communications and give yourself a better chance of capturing your recipients’ attention.
- Develop a cadence for donor acknowledgements. Everyone involved in fundraising should know exactly how long it takes for a thank you to go out after a gift is made, what types of gifts deserve additional outreach, and who is responsible for communicating with each donor. Use customizable templates such as the ones available in Network for Good’s fundraising software to save time and avoid reinventing the wheel with every gift. Think about key types of donors that you would like to steward, such as first-time or major donors, and create a plan to make them feel special and appreciated. Developing a rhythm for your acknowledgement process makes it more likely to go smoothly once the rush of a new campaign is upon you.
- Create a turnkey communications schedule for fundraising events. Whether it’s an annual gala or walk-a-thon, the yearly nature of the event makes it easy to work backwards and figure out when you will begin promoting it every year. For example, you might decide to send out a save the date 12 weeks in advance, an official invitation eight weeks in advance, and then reminders at six, four, two, and one weeks out. Whatever schedule you come up with this year will make your future events easier to plan if you know what’s ahead. Be sure to schedule a time to debrief with your team one to two weeks after each event and jot down initial ideas and goals for the following year while they’re still fresh in your mind.
With these tips, you can be growing your fundraising strengths at any time of the year. Want more resources to help raise your fundraising acumen? Check out Network for Good’s library of resources here.