6 Habits to Develop Before 2014
September: Think like a new donor
Getting a first donation is just the beginning. What are new donors expecting from you next? How quickly are you thanking them? What are they receiving from you (by mail, e-mail, phone, etc.) that reaffirms the wisdom they showed by making that first gift? Yes, overall attrition rates in our industry are awful. But that's no excuse. Before the surge of new donors at year-end, make sure you have your great welcome process fully operational.
October: Don't give up without a fight
Reactivating lapsed donors is tough, but year-end is an ideal time to invite them back. Put a strategy in writing, indicating every effort you could make to bring donors back on board. Of course, we all have limited time (and budgets), so choose the ones that look like the best options. Then make them happen.
November: Try something new — but stick with what works, too
Is there something missing from your fundraising program that you think might revitalize it? Choose something new, and work toward testing it as soon as possible. (It may not be until after Jan. 1 due to workload, but if you don't start planning now, it might not even happen then.) At the same time, make sure your plan for December and beyond includes solid, proven (at your organization) fundraising methods. Chasing the newest idea helps stave off your boredom, but it might not resonate with your donors.
December: Resolve to make every communication in 2014 matter to your donors
Chances are, many of your donors enjoy hearing from you as long as what you say is interesting (to them). If there are communications in your fundraising program that meet an internal need but not a donor need, maybe it's time to get the entire organization to agree to let go. At least try. You might not win the battle today, but perhaps you will plant a seed that leads to the desired results some time in the new year.