As we’ve learned these past two years- there is no time like the present. Stop avoiding issues that are holding you back and let’s do something about it.
Here are our top 4 items- you probably have on your list- that you can fix right now.
You may hate your donor management software. It’s not uncommon. Your main focus is on fundraising and programming, and software complaints can get pushed to the back. There is this thing called “data drift” that happens, as staff members come and go. Proper workflows aren’t maintained, standard procedures change with every employee turnover. So, while the data continues to exist within your software, it is in multiple places, formats, pages. Over time, that drift leads to completely unreliable, unusable data. Your donor data is one of your most valuable assets- and maintaining it should be a priority.
Offer training for your staff on your technology stack. Either bring in the software company themselves, or find a training solution. Record the training and keep them accessible for all staff and new hires. I’d recommend learning about every feature, as it will help you understand what you need or don’t need in the future. You’re looking for features and functionality; features are a list of all the bells and whistles, where functionality is how those bells and whistles actually perform when you try to use them. Software is not one size fits all. If you know the ins and outs of what you have, then you are better equipped to make responsible decisions in choosing something different. Make a list of the top 10 features you think you need. Then research as many options as possible and find a platform that nails at least 8 of those features. The top 80% is what you really need- the rest is just extraneous.
Most important in all of this is educating your staff. You may find you don’t need new software at all- but if you do, you’ll make a well-informed decision based on the needs of your entire team.
2. Choose a website platform that will allow you to control your own content easily.
Your website is the foundation on which your mission lives. Outsourcing to a web developer makes things easier, but ensure you have all of the information about the back-end of your website in case that developer disappears. Vendors come and go, but you can still maintain or even hand off your website if you have that information. Your website is a public representation of your virtual front door. 75% of consumers admit that they make judgements about a business’ credibility based on their website design. Consumers=donors. Credibility=dollars.
3. Invest in Responsive Design- we’re talking mobile devices.
68% of all web traffic comes from mobile devices- and that’s a pre-pandemic statistic. If your website isn't mobile friendly, you're either a) mostly invisible or b) making a very bad first impression on a LOT of people. Remember the thing about your website being your front door? Let’s say you meet a new potential donor and they’re really excited about your cause. You give them your website address. They type it in on their phone, and it comes up- but it is a mess. The welcome mat is turned over, there’s a broken window, and the doorbell is a handwritten note that says “ring here and wait." Suddenly, the donor gets really busy and stops returning your calls. Your nonprofit looks unprofessional and unpolished. Impression is everything, and donors don’t want to give money to a cause that looks like it hasn’t got itself together.
4. Don’t have the file share from hell.
Create a standard naming convention for all files and folders, especially for use within shared drives. Identify document categories and standardize coding or acronyms. Most importantly, document your process and make it an office law moving forward. Train your staff on the new habits and then get to work on renaming the files already within your file share . Naming conventions vary depending on your particulars, but you’ll want to find something simple yet descriptive. Most begin with the date: YYYY-MM-DD, followed by your descriptor or category, and a version reference. Disorganized file names will begin to stand out as “old” and it’s an extremely helpful process to clean up and consolidate your records. Ultimately, you will find it easier to browse documentation and find files created by other authors.
What things can you fix in your organization right now? What do you need help with?
How can you change one thing today to help propel your organization forward?