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10 Things All Fundraisers Should Do in February

As she writes, "After all, February is often considered a "slower" time for fundraising professionals. Therefore, it's a perfect opportunity to complete a lot of to-dos you simply can't get to the rest of the year."

Before March comes in like a lion, take the next few weeks to complete these 10 tasks.

1.      Reflect: Begin February by reflecting on last year's fundraising activities and conducting an end-of-year fundraising review and audit. This analysis will help you determine which fundraisers were worth your time and which ones need revamping or replacement.

2.      Thank Donors: If you haven't already, it's time to thank your year-end donors. Don't wait a minute longer. Thank yous are important for a number of reasons. First, they help your donor to see how invaluable they are to the work of your organization. Second, thank yous prove your gift was recognized and appreciated. And last, they help ensure retention down the road.

There are a seemingly unlimited number of ways to thank your donors. Here are a few examples:

Handwritten thank you letter

Phone call

Personalized email

3.      Confirm Your Fiscal Year Fundraising Budget: In order to make money, you need money. So, before you dive headfirst into 2017's fundraising efforts, use some time in February to determine exactly how much you can spend on fundraising activities.

While no means exhaustive, some common fundraising expenses include:

Staff time

Marketing

Event spaces

Food/beverages

Postage

Online fundraising services

Payment processing fees

4.      Finalize Fundraising Calendar: By the end of February (if not sooner), we suggest you craft a detailed fundraising calendar alongside your fundraising budget.

Use your year-end fundraising review and audit to help clarify which fundraisers should be used again in the upcoming year. Then, jot down important information about each activity, including:

Fundraising type and name

Date/time of fundraiser

Anticipated income

Fundraising expenses

Intended audience

Other notes

For guidance, reference Fundraising Planning Guide, Calendar Template & Goals Worksheet.

5.      Work With Your Marketing Department To Create A Communications Plan: Depending on the size of your nonprofit or charity, you may or may not work directly with someone who focuses on marketing and communications.

If you're fortunate enough to have a marketing counterpart, set up a meeting to combine forces. After all, you just spent a whole lot of time creating a super amazing fundraising plan and you want to maximize its effectiveness!

Make sure your calendars line up so that marketing is helping to promote your fundraisers in newsletters and in other messaging on social media, email, and direct mail. A quick, hour-long meeting can save you headaches later in the year.

6.      Plan an Engagement Opportunity: Since you're coming out of a high-energy fundraising time period, your donors may not appreciate another "ask" so soon. However, this doesn't mean that you shouldn't still stay connected.

To keep donors thinking about your cause, plan an engagement opportunity such as a chance to volunteer, connect online, or attend a networking event.

7.      Interact with Donors Online: Social media has revolutionized the way we communicate with donors. Never before have nonprofits been so accessible to their donors and vice versa. Yet it's far too easy to let online donor engagement fall to the back burner.

This month, pay special attention to your online audience. Converse with them on Facebook posts and through Instagram. Recognize when people "Like" your videos or share your posts. Thank them for engaging with you and being a part of your cause.

Although small and relatively easy, adding a human element to the online world will do wonders to keep you top-of-mind with your donors.

8.      Prepare for your next Fundraising Campaign: Now that you have a spiffy new fundraising calendar to help guide your fundraising this upcoming year, it's the perfect time to start preparing for your next fundraiser.

Start putting together your messaging, renting space, or creating your fundraising website. If your next fundraiser is a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, then start writing your toolkit and recruiting personal fundraisers. You'll thank yourself later.

9.      Clean up your Website: With so much to do and so many relationships to foster, it's remarkably hard to spend time fixing up your website. However, it's important that your website is up-to-date and accurate, because in our world, your website is often the face of your organization.

This February, carve out a day or two to review your website, even if you have someone who manages it on a daily basis. Look over each page for spelling and grammar issues. Check the formatting and ensure the menus are arranged correctly. If it hasn't been done already, work to optimize your website for mobile devices.

For inspiration, check out our post highlighting some great nonprofit website examples.

10.  Collect Feedback from your Donors: We're all guilty of viewing our cause with rose-colored glasses. After all, we're doing AMAZING work helping to make or world a better, safer place for everyone. Why wouldn't people love us?

Unfortunately, (and sometimes surprisingly) there are people out there who may not agree. And while it may feel at first like a punch to the gut, this is perfectly okay. Feedback and even a bit of constructive criticism helps our organizations grow and meet the ever-changing needs of our donor base.

Before the month closes out, create a plan to collect donor feedback. This can be as simple as emailing a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey or a more thorough donor survey. Don't forget to include lapsed and renewed donors.

By collecting feedback, you're on your way to building deeper trust with donors, which ultimately helps with retention efforts.

We all know February is a short month filled with short days. But regardless of all this "shortness," there are ways that you can GO BIG this month. Use your "down" time wisely to close up your year-end fundraising, reflect, and prepare for what's to come.

Spring is right around the corner—it's time to get ready!

 

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