Holiday donor retention rates got you down? Read this!November 30, 2023
We’ve been inspired by this “Ins and Outs list” trend we’re seeing all over socials and by what we’ve been hearing from our clients. So, we put together our own list of what’s out and what’s in for philanthropy in 2024. Enjoy!
Out: Doing things “the way they’ve always been done”
In: Time for reflection, assessment, and generating new ideas
Secretly, we love the moment when a client is stumped by the question “what is the intention behind this?”. That may sound a little harsh, but the truth is, that awkward moment is usually followed by the realization that there is a different, possibly better way of accomplishing a goal. So this year, don’t be afraid to ask yourself and your team “What are our intended outcome/s and how else could we do this?” You never know what new and creative ideas will come of it!
Out: Not having defined Board terms and give/get goals for all Board members
In: Engaged Board members who believe it takes money to make money
Hannah shares, “If I had a dollar for every organization I’ve worked with in the last 20 years that had a problematic Board member who didn’t carry their weight…well, I’d be writing bigger checks to my favorite nonprofit orgs.” The irony is that while Boards are the governing body of an organization, the executive leadership staff has tremendous influence on who serves in that group, and what types of policy are placed in the bylaws. So, if you’ve been suffering in silence, it might be time to assert yourself.
Great board members are down for the cause and understand what it takes to be successful – AKA they support budget growth for the purpose of investing in your team, attracting and retaining talent. As we approach the next fiscal year, check out this blog post for five things you should do in preparation for the new fiscal year to make sure your Board is on track, and this one where we discuss the importance of investing in your staff.
Out: Zoom meetings with prospective donors “just to get to know each other”
In: In-person meetings (safely, of course) and transparent invitations
In her best selling book Philanthropy Revolution, author Lisa Greer writes about her frustration with fundraisers who extend an invitation to “get to know each other” and still make an ask during that meeting. 2024 is the year to embrace transparency – say what you want, claim your intentions, be clear. Trust us, it’ll help you both better prepare for the conversation, build trust faster, and you’ll be way more likely to get a positive response to your donation request.. Think about it – if you tell your prospective donor right up front “I’d love to share more with you about our expansion and discuss your interest in supporting us over lunch”, the acceptance of that invitation is already paving the road to YES.
Also, people are craving in-person interaction, so don’t settle for a Zoom meeting with potentially spotty internet. Get back out into the world (safely) if you’re able.
Out: Transactional outreach
In: Cultivating connection through regular contact
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Donors should not only be hearing from you when you’re asking them for money. It seems straightforward, but a lot can get lost in the shuffle when you’re in the midst of a million different projects. But seriously, this is important. You don’t want your donors feeling like they’re just another number in your income projection, you want them to become champions of your cause.
This year, we invite you to be really intentional about your donor communications. Send an email with a few photos of your programs and a couple stats detailing the success of a recent initiative, make a phone call, send a personal text, post a thank you on social media. Whatever it is, let your supporters see the impact they are making and let them feel important to your community.
Out: Worrying so much about the economy that it impairs your good strategic development planning
In: Believing that there’s plenty to go around and resources are abundant
Repeat after us “We are NOT operating from a scarcity mindset in 2024!” To put it in perspective, in 2022, charitable giving in the US totaled $499.33 billion (yes, billion!), and 86% percent of affluent households maintained or increased their giving despite uncertainty about further spread of COVID-19.
All that is to say, the money is out there, and the people that have it want to give it to people making a difference (hint, hint…that’s you!). There’s always going to be economic uncertainty, but don’t let that stop you. Be intentional about finding your people, make sure you’re clear on your mission and goals, and use your resources effectively. You got this! And if you need help defining your goals and creating a development plan, you’ve come to the right place. Check out our new Done in a Day Strategic Development Planning Service.
We hope this inspires you to take a look at your own practices and beliefs in this new year, and to make an Ins and Outs list of your own (share it and tag us on IG or LinkedIn @thephilanthropycoachllc). We wish you success in 2024, and we’re here to help along the way. As always, we’re rooting for you!
– Team TPC