New Year, New Fundraising Goals posted 01/24/17

By Jeanne Kaufmann

There are few things more inspiring than the dawn of a new year.  It’s a chance to look back over the work that has been done and chart a course for the coming twelve months.  It is also the time most organizations find themselves setting their new fundraising goals.  And as exciting and motivating that process can be,  the step between setting those intentions and actually achieving them can often seem like formidable, perhaps even impassable, chasm.  With that in mind, we wanted to provide a few ideas that will hopefully get your team fired up for the new year, and maybe even make that chasm feel just a bit easier to conquer.

1) Redefine Fundraising – The act of soliciting funds can often elicit feelings of awkwardness or even discomfort amongst board members and staff.  Many equate the term fundraising with asking people for money, and that can lead to negative feelings and a lack of motivation.

Instead, remind your board members and staff that this is not about just adding figures to the revenue column, it’s about getting people excited about a cause you believe  in.  Make sure they consider themselves ambassadors for your organization rather than solicitors, and remind them if that giving to an organization they feel passionate about makes them feel good, than maybe stirring others do the same will inspire a sense of joy rather than obligation.   The more you make fundraising feel like a team effort and share the challenges and rewards, the more excited your board members and staff will feel to get involved!

2) Maintain Strong Communication – As important as the annual or quarter revenue budget figures can be, sometimes a little more guidance and specificity can add enormous value.   Try and make sure your staff and board members are receiving monthly progress reports so that everyone can stay educated and involved. Even better, schedule monthly meetings! These meetings can serve as great opportunity to make sure the organization is on track to achieve their targets, as well as guarantee everyone is on the same page when it comes to the strategic plan.

3) Do Your Research – One of the best things you can do for your fundraising efforts is  make sure you understand the make up of those who are donating to your cause.   If you don’t know what your average donor looks like, how will you continue to connect with them in meaningful ways?   Gather as much data as you can and make sure to keep it updated.  The more insight you have, the more prepared you will feel when it comes to putting together campaign strategies and growing your donor base.

4) Make New Friends – When it comes to fundraising, it is easy to get caught in a vicious cycle of thinking that adding dollars is the only way to meet your goals.  But as valuable as donors can be, friends to your organization can add so much more.  Friends will stay involved, they will be passionate and driven, they will celebrate in the good times and assist in the bad.  Make sure your board members and staff are not just fundraising, but friend raising.   The more people you have out there talking up your cause, the more your organization becomes an active part of the community, which will absolutely lead to more buzz, more volunteers, and best of all,  more access to funds and resources.

5) Take Stock –This time of year, we all want to have a fresh start or a clean slate.  And yes, those concepts can be tempting, but if you throw out everything that worked before just to try something new, you just might be throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

Instead, get everyone together and take the opportunity to have a post-mortem on the past year; revisit your successes and make sure you understand why they were wins so they can be recreated, and take a hard look at your missteps and examine what you can learn from them so you don’t make the same mistakes again.   Make sure you are building on your knowledge and experience and using that to evolve.  A clean slate is great, but a clear plan is even better.

So cheers to the new year, now let’s get out there and make things happen!

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