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If you keep doing what you’ve been doing

June 21st, 2010

I’ve never been fond of New Year’s Resolutions because they imply that there’s only one day of the year that we can – and should – examine ourselves for what we might change or improve.  Like Earth Day.  I think we should honor the planet on a continual basis, not one of 365 days.  It’s the same with ourselves.  Change might occur to me in June, August or November.

Still, I have to admit that it does occur to me now because I’m wrapping up a fiscal year and planning for the next.  Also, the event manager in me forces me to acknowledge that there is a need to rally around a fixed point in time, to focus people’s attention on an issue/mission.

So, I’d like to pass on this self-improvement inclination by encouraging you to adapt one new behavior that will help you learn, modify or somehow improve your campaign strategy in the coming year.  Some examples:

•     Ask a phonathon caller how much they contribute to the organization.   Margaret* thought to do this when her alma mater called, requesting that she increase her pledge.  She explained that when she conducts campaigns, a solicitor doesn’t ask others without first donating himself – and told the (student) caller that she would match her increase to the gift the caller made.  It worked!  This also inspired her to train her own student phonathon staff to consider making a gift first, so that they could explain how supportive they were of the organization.

•     Design your own stamp when mailing to smaller, special groups, to give it that personal touch.  Depending on the size, prices range from $0.75 to $1.00 per first class stamp.

•     Create videos to better market your organization, and get a YouTube nonprofit account.  Videos can be used to accompany e-mails and for many other purposes now, including embedding links within the video itself.

•     Sign up for SMS (text) alerts from at least one nonprofit, to become better acquainted with texting.  Mobile giving is one of the next technological items on the frontier, so it’s best to learn it now.

•     Create a new social media account for yourself that you don’t have, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Buzz, etc.  Commit to learning it – and using it at least once daily, even if it means reading something and reposting (sharing) the most interesting thing you find that day.  (People like to have their material passed on.)  There are many free or low cost courses on how to better use social media.

•     Use Google Analytics on your website.  Nancy Schwartz explains in greater detail how helpful this can be, to sign up for a (free!) account and start measuring what is working well and what needs to be improved.

Can you think of another area in Annual Giving that could be added to this list of improvements?  Feel free to post any additional thoughts in the comments below.  We’re all striving to improve how we raise money these days, and it’s certain that it can’t remain how it’s been done in the past.

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Keep the base of the pyramid strong

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