January is a time of year when many people set resolutions, but it can also be a terrific time for fundraisers to do some deliberate strategic planning.While December is the top month for donations, many nonprofits may not focus on fundraising in January.
Set your fundraising effort apart from the rest with these eight resolutions.
The work of fundraising is more than merely asking for donations. January can be an essential time of year to reach out to donors to show gratitude through email communications, phone calls, and even in-person meetings.
Seasoned fundraisers know donor stewardship and relationship building are important to the donor cycle.
For most people, the holiday rush is over, and both fundraisers and donors may have a bit more time to think intentionally about philanthropy. Nonprofit organizations can use this time to talk to donors about moving from transactional gifts to transformational giving, such as planned gifts from their estate.
It can also be a time when fundraisers spend some time on self-care.
January offers an opportunity to set an intentional plan for donor communication for the entire year, discuss fundraising events with your team, clean up the database, update donation pages, and research automation and AI tools.
Here are eight things for fundraisers to do in January:
1.) Create or revamp a donor communication plan.
January is a fantastic time to create a communication plan for the entire calendar year. Look at the nourishment ratio for communicating with donors. Is your nonprofit organization staying in contact with donors regularly?
Consider an 8:1 nourishment ratio by email. For every email asking for donations, send eight communication pieces that are informational, educational, and show gratitude.
Set up critical placeholders for major fundraising activities, organize initiatives for peer-to-peer fundraising, and encourage recurring donations. Additionally, strategize email campaigns to complement and enhance your direct mail fundraising appeals.
2.) Plan fundraising events with your team
If your nonprofit uses fundraising events or peer-to-peer fundraisers like a 5k race or golf outing, January is an excellent time to plan.
Discuss how you might partner with a local business to sponsor fundraising events or a movie night. Also, talk about what volunteer needs your nonprofit will have.
Planning is essential for these events. From selling tickets to social media posts to save the date, the first part of the year is a wonderful time to kick off this type of fundraising effort.
3.) Use January as a time to clean up your constituent database
Clean or correct data is vital to strategic fundraising and good donor relationships. Plan to have your team clean up the database so communication sent throughout the year is accurate.
Good data helps with donor segmentation and goal-shattering direct mail appeals.
Check out this webinar on cleaning your donor database.
4.) Update donation pages
If your nonprofit hasn’t recently reviewed your donation pages, now is the time. Creating customized pages for each donor segment can improve your fundraising effort.
Tailoring the requested donation amounts can boost contributions to your organization. Consider creating different donation pages tailored to your donors’ potential to give. Include URLs or QR codes in your direct mail and email campaigns, linking each donor to the relevant donation page.
For major donors, think about what information they might need on their donation page. Major donors may need information on gifts of stock or giving from a donor-advised fund.
5.) Research automation tools such as AskGenius, Power Automate, and AutomateGenius
Automation tools can improve fundraising by setting customized donation amounts and personalizing communication with each donor. It can also help with regular communication with donors and alerting your major gift officers when a donation arrives.
Think of the possibilities with an email assistant and automated alerts as part of your tools. Learn what is possible at AutomateGenius.com.
Learning about new tools can spark new winter fundraising ideas for your team.
6.) Send a communication about recurring donation opportunities and giving clubs
At the start of the year, informing donors about recurring donation options and giving clubs is a good idea. This will help them plan their philanthropy for the year.
Gaining new monthly donors is a great way to kick off the year and encourage your supporters to consider recurring monthly gifts.
7.) Schedule in-person donor meetings to discuss planned giving
People are busy during the holidays, but things calm down in January. Call donors to schedule in-person meetings or even tours.
Utilize these meetings to understand the driving factors behind their donations. Also, use this opportunity to inspire donors to reflect on the legacy they wish to create in the future.
Meetings, whether in person or virtual, are an excellent opportunity to spread the word about your nonprofit’s needs with others.
8.) Take time for self-care
Fundraising in January can also mean stepping away from your desk. Take time for self-care by having lunch with a friend, getting a massage, or finally reading that book on your table.
Fundraising, though fulfilling, can also be demanding for nonprofit staff. Set aside some time to rejuvenate.
January can be the right time to slow the pace and research new tools and strategies to be more effective in the new year.
The team at AskGenius is here to help; schedule a time to learn how AskGenius can help your team set personalized ask amounts for every donor. And while you’re at it, check out this library of past webinars. Grab a cup of tea, put your feet up, and learn a new strategy for impacting philanthropy.