5 Ways to Get Your NPO’s Year Off to a Great Start

Photo by Thanasis

At this time of year, most folks like to look back at the year just passing. What were the top ten most successful fundraising efforts? Who made the biggest blunders of the year? Who were the up-and-comers? That doesn’t even take into account “the top ten xyz” lists that get published at the end of every year. There’s nothing wrong with looking back. Indeed, looking back at what worked and what didn’t work over the course of a year can be extremely educational. Looking ahead, however, seems to be a little less popular even though it can be just as useful.

Making sure your feet are firmly planted for a good start to the year often gets lost in the shuffle. You’ve got the holidays to recover from both personally and professionally, you need to get your end-of-year reports done, and of course you need to start looking ahead to your first major campaign. With that in mind, I thought I’d make you a handy dandy checklist: 5 things you can do pretty easily that will help you make sure your year gets off on the right foot.

1. Update All Software

If you’re like me, your computer, your WordPress blog, and loads of other things have been yelling at you to update your software. Even though updates are easy as pie (usually), I never seem to do them. When I’m at my computer or when I’m using my phone, I’m using them. I don’t want to sit there and watch a bar fill up across my screen. New Years Day is the perfect time to update everything. Click all of your check boxes, click update, and then go off to watch more football or drink more coffee. Start the year off knowing that your security and functionality are going to be top notch in terms of your technology needs.

2. Learn Something New About Your Cause

Sure, you’re absorbed in your cause 24/7, but working with an NPO you might get distracted by actually promoting your fundraising efforts. There are probably things you didn’t see relevant to your cause—an update, a new discovering, or something similar. Find out something new and share it with your donors and your co-workers.

3. Engage with One New Person Every Day in January Across Your Social Media Platforms

It’s an ugly truth. No matter how you are using social media, it is extremely easy to fall into the trap of talking to the same people every single day. The same people “like” your photos on Facebook, you tweet with the same people, you comment on the same accounts on Instagram, etc. There’s nothing wrong with that per se, but if you want to spread the word about your cause, one of the best ways is to make sure you are meeting new people who might never have heard of you or your cause before. Engaging doesn’t mean promoting. It just means seeking out a new person and tweeting with them or liking their post or photo. Expand your circle.

4. Try a New Social Media Platform (that Makes Sense for You)

Normally I’m not a proponent of just blindly trying new things, but that is a far cry from doing some research and deciding to try out something that just might help you. I believe most NPOs could benefit from Instagram or Flickr. Do you have accounts there yet? Maybe 2015 is the year to sign up and give it a go.

5. Try to Engage with Your Donors “In Real Life”

Let’s face it. Social media and email make interacting with your donors easier, faster, and more cost-effective. People are used to communicating that way, of course, but you would be amazed at how meaningful a hand-written letter or an in-person meeting can be. Try to find ways to meet your community beyond the realm of the digital world. Not only will it be fulfilling for you, it will also make your community feel appreciated and hence more loyal to you.

How are you planning to make sure your year gets off to a great start? We’d love to hear from you. And hey—Happy New Year!