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Resources — December 20, 2012 at 10:52 am

10 Things You Can Do Better in 2013



Photo: Not the real list.

The New Year is a great time to think on and plan for the year ahead. Together with some experts around the office I’ve come up with a list of 10 things you can do better in 2013 to get you started.

1. Prove impact. Stories are what catch people’s attention and move them. But if you want your supporters to be committed, you have to prove your worth through real, tangible results. That means numbers. That means infographics and videos. That means authenticity.

2. Get to know your donors better. How much do you actually know about your donors? Talk to them through any means available to you. Use email and social media to reach more people, but use phone calls and face to face whenever you can too.

3. Use more visuals. As much as I hate to say it, people don’t read, or at least not as much as they look and watch. Our visual standards are being set by Apple and Google. If your design is still stuck in the 90s your revenue probably will be too. Learn to make great videos. Revamp your visuals. Hire a designer if you need to.

4. Stop being so cheap. A friend of mine told me about a charity that changed their fundraising overnight simply by shelling out a few more bucks for 4-colour printing. You can’t afford to be cheap. Your donors will give more if they know what you’re doing is quality — and that includes your marketing.

5. Make a five-year plan. Too many charities don’t think beyond the day-to-day. I know things are tight, but without vision you’re not going to grow or change. Where do you want to be next year, the year after that, and five years from now? Create a realistic dream and set out to achieve it.

6. Celebrate your donors. Yes, you are doing good work (if you’re not we need to have a talk) but the reason you’re able to do that work is because of your donors. They’re the heroes of your organization. Thank them, highlight them, celebrate them.

7. Be fun. Are you having fun? Yes, the problems that charities face and are trying to solve are real and often somber, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Be inspired, get creative, and make it fun.

8. Get out more. It’s so easy to spend most of your time behind a computer, or in meetings with familiar people. Get out and meet some of your donors, spend time with your volunteers, and in the field with the people you’re helping and the people who help them (if you don’t do the work directly yourself).

9. Take the hard road. Sending out an annual report as an update is easy because you’ve already got your annual report, but is that really what’s best for the donor? Monthly, weekly, daily updates are much harder, but they’re better at connecting your donors to your cause. Think about your strategy: what are you avoiding just because it’s hard?

10. Follow some awesome charity blogs. There are so many great ones out there with a ton of inspiration and ideas, like Katya’s Nonprofit Marketing Blog, or Brady’s Re:charity, or this one.