Every non-profit has bad habits. Some bad habits were started unintentionally, some from bad thinking, and some may have been good ideas long ago, but they have not aged well. If you can identify and stop just some of your bad habits, you could find new momentum and energy that can propel you to the next level!
- Only Sending Digital Receipts
Automatic email receipts are very easy to set up and forget about. They generally fulfill an organization’s obligation to receipt donors for tax purposes, and they are instantaneous. The problem is that they are cold and one-dimensional. Sending a prompt paper receipt letter is a much warmer way to thank a donor; it builds relationship, often results in follow-up giving, and expands your existence and communication beyond just the digital realm.
- Sending To Everyone On Your Email List
It may have taken you years to build up a sizable email list, so why not send every message to everyone? Having a healthy email list is more important than a large one. If 2/3 of your list is dead, it will hinder deliverability rates for the live subscribers. You need to regularly clean your list to increase engagement rates and improve your list’s view in the eyes of the email service providers that control if/when your emails make it to inboxes. You will also save a little money.
- Using Dated Brand Standards
Branding is important; in fact, it is critical. But a good brand decision 20 years ago may be a bad one today. Your policies and guidelines need to adapt to changes in style and technology. You must be true to yourself, but you must also stand out visually in a crowded marketplace. Do not deviate from your brand standards, but do periodically examine them and consider updates. You need to capture eyes to obtain the opportunity to win hearts.
- Assuming A Good Mission Is Enough
If you build it, they will come. Right? Actually, no, not usually. You need to win people’s hearts if you want them to come and support your ministry. Letting them know you are there and that your mission is good will not go as far as many hope. You need to connect to the deepest passions, values, or priorities of potential donors to engage them. Everything you do needs to be strategically coordinated to making and reinforcing that connection. Providing information alone is not enough; you have to win people’s hearts.
- Being Too Busy To Innovate
It is easy to get trapped in the hustle and bustle of current priorities and not try new things. But you must change. Your donors’ priorities and perspectives are changing over time. You must carve out and dedicate bandwidth and resources to try new things. Some will fail, but some will become the future. Does your organization need a podcast, a YouTube channel, a newsletter, a tour for donors, a television presence, to sponsor an event, or partner with an influencer? The answer is certainly no for some or most of them, but how will you know unless you test something new regularly?
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