The last few years have been a difficult time for nonprofits. The economic downturn hit donors hard, and so nonprofits also suffered. Many nonprofits have also struggled with the change in their donor profiles, as new, younger donors require different things of a nonprofit association to stay engaged. Here we’ll discuss some innovative ways that your nonprofit can continue to grow, despite the changing times and economic climate.
8. Track All Contact
The most important thing you can do to help your nonprofit stay strong is to gather and manage the contact information of those people who are involved and care about your mission and programs. If someone attends an event, participates in a volunteer opportunity or makes a donation this person is already a participant, and so the task of converting them to a higher level donor is much easier. Your association should be making every effort possible to collect and store contact information of everyone that the nonprofit interacts with.
7. Manage Your Information
It doesn’t matter how many names you have collected if you can’t bring them all up in a clean list for an email newsletter, or if you can’t figure out how to get someone off your mailing list. Your information is only as good as the way that it is maintained. All associations should be using a dedicated and trained database manager and a nonprofit-specific constituent management database. The initial cost is well worth the peace of mind you’ll gain from such a system.
6. Ask for Help
Donors and volunteers want to help you! It’s your job to tell them what you need. The key to these communications is being honest and timely in your ask, and asking the right people at the right time. Don’t ask your highest level donors to pitch in at the last minute to help you load gifts on a Saturday morning. That’s a job for the girl’s softball team that always helps you with your walkathon! Knowing who to ask and when to ask them is key to your success.
5. Go Mobile
Cell phones now outnumber Americans, so there’s a good chance that your donors will be interacting with you on a mobile device. This means that it is vital that your association’s newsletters and communications are optimized for viewing on the go. Using a newsletter template that’s set up for this purpose is an easy solution.
4. Check In
Donors and stakeholders often have top notch ideas and suggestions about your organization, so don’t leave these on the table. Consider using online survey software yearly to check in and see how your donors think you’re doing, and if they have any great suggestions to implement.
3. Get Social
It’s well known that using social media to stay in contact with your donors can be a great way to up their involvement and get your message out, but most organizations don’t make the most of this. Assign your social media management to a younger team member that falls into the “digital native” category and, while organizations should have a hard and fast social media policy, don’t micro-manage their activity. Younger staffers are often able to hit a more appropriate social media tone, thereby making your messaging more effective.
2. Train to Lead
Many nonprofits operate with a bare-bones team of employees. This means that employees are often asked to take on extra responsibilities at the drop of a hat. Instead of ignoring this reality, it’s a great idea to engage the middle range of employees and train them as if they were management. This allows your association to have a deeper bench when it comes to immediate issues.
1. Be Transparent
Financial and managerial transparency are an important component to building trust, and thereby involvement and donations with constituents and stakeholders. Proper financial management and yearly disclosures will benefit your organization in many ways.