Tuesday, January 7, 2014

This Year, Resolve to...

I hope this finds you all happy and warm for 2014. Crazy weather has descended on most of us, so read this in good health. Here are things I hope you to resolve for your organization:

1. Resolve to build your program for donors based on empirical data, not anecdotal stories from one outlier. Look at your numbers and act accordingly.

2. Resolve to build a first time donor retention program an implement it to help your retention rates, it will have a huge impact on your organization.

3. Resolve to never, ever, print an honor roll or list of donors for your organization. They're the worst time and money you can spend. If you're still doing one, ask yourself why. If that doesn't work, ask me for help. Your honor roll does nothing to help you, period. It's a list of names with no ROI, chances for grave errors and doesn't tell your story.

4. Resolve to tell your story. Take that time, effort and money you're wasting elsewhere and build an amazing impact report and send it to your donors. They'll thank you for it, in money and in words.

5. Resolve to eliminate a wasteful event or effort. Did I say golf tournament? Yup, I did, if it's not working for you, there's no tangible ROI and it's causing you grief, get rid of it!

6. Resolve to do something creative and out of the box for your organization. Don't have an idea? Steal one from someone else. I'm serious, don't reinvent the wheel, just put your logo on it, customize it and move on.

7. Resolve to make online and reoccurring gifts a priority. Treat these donors well, they will grow. Work with your tech team to make your site donor friendly and your receipts for online gifts digital.

8. Work with the solicitation team to make sure that for every time your organization asks for money, there's a thank you to go with it. I received 24 solicitation emails on New Year's Eve from organizations I supported that year, but not a single thank you.

9. Resolve to write at least 5 hand written thank you notes a week in 2014. I don't care to who, but they thrill and delight people and can turn a bad day into a great one. Try it, and stick with it!

10. Resolve to obtain some professional development! (Shameless Plug) The 2014 Donor Relations Guru webinar series is posted for the year here and if you purchase a subscription you'll save $130. If not a webinar, go to a conference, read a book, gather with other professionals, do something!

Resolve to have a great year ahead- thanks for reading my blog!



  1. Happy New Year, Lynne! I have printed this out and hightlighted #3 and posted it on my noticeboard. If only I could get leadership to agree to end the pain of honour rolls. Hope things aren't too cold where you are (says she sweltering in Brisbane's heatwave).
    Cheers, Lucy

  2. I am totally on board with eliminating our donor honor roll, but I am only one voice. How do I convince others that this is not an effective use of our resources? I've tried showing stats reporting that "phonebooks" are not something donors value - thank-you notes are at the top of that list- and I haven't made much headway.

  3. Hi Lynne! I also have a question about #3. Would you please share your interpretation of an honor roll v. a listing of donors in the Annual Report. I think of them as two separate publications, where you can do without the former for certain. But many on my staff love the idea of a donor listing -- and truly, deeply believe that donors like seeing their name in a printed report -- in our Annual Report. Thanks!!
    Leigh Ann

  4. Kimberly and Leigh Ann,
    Have you tried showing a statistical analysis of whether or not it is a good ROI? just because someone believes it doesn't make it so. What else could you do for your donors with that time and those resources>?