One thing about fundraising – it seems never-ending. About the time the letter is in the mail or “send” is pressed on the eAppeal, the next one (or two or three) needs your attention.
But even as you move forward on your projects, here are some things to make sure you don’t neglect in 2018.
- Calculate your attrition rate, and conversely, your retention rate. How many donors from 2016 gave again in 2017? How many lapsed donors from 2015 or earlier were reactivated in 2017? If you don’t know how many donors you are losing every year to attrition, it’s difficult to budget and strategize for replacements via acquisition, let to grow of your mail list.
- Review the projects that did the best in 2017 and determine if they can be repeated with little or no changes in 2018. Obviously, the letter about a one-time event has a limited shelf life, but other than that, can you reuse your best mailings and emails with a little updating and refreshing?
- Take a big gulp and look at the worst performers of 2017. What can you learn from these failures that can help you avoid repeat performances in 2018? We’ll always have some projects that fail, but the secret is learning from them so we improve going forward.
- Review your volunteers and determine if you are utilizing them as effectively as possible. If you aren’t using volunteers at all, ask yourself if there is a way this can be a boon to your program and workload. If “letting go” is a problem for you, identify a few places where you can experiment with volunteers while you build your confidence for delegating to unpaid helpers.
- Evaluate your own career path. Are you continually learning and feeling challenged or are you simply going through the motions of fundraising? Most donors aren’t fooled by someone who views fundraising as just a job. What will it take for you to rekindle the joy you once felt in fundraising?
- Start planning for the one new, audacious fundraising activity you want to try in 2018. Create a budget and a timeline. Look for where it could fail and create strategies to mitigate that potential.
But most of all, remember that you are changing the world, one letter, one email, one call, one event, one newsletter at a time!