The holidays are upon us again, and whether you run a nonprofit or not, they are always a busy time of year. If you are raising funds for a new project, planning events, or getting ready for the upcoming winter months, there are some things you can do now to prepare for the season ahead.
3 tips for preparing your nonprofit for a busy season
- Create a game plan.
- Prepare your marketing plan.
- Make it easy to donate.
1. Create a Game Plan
The first thing you should do to prepare your nonprofit for the busy holiday season is to make sure its strategy and game plan are squared away. There is nothing worse than going into a busy time unprepared, so make sure you’re organized and ready to go.
To start, consider creating a master event and volunteer list to serve as a road map to your end-of-year plans. This can be a resource or document for you to organize upcoming events, contact information for volunteers, and assigned tasks so they are readily available when you need them. Then, categorize and prioritize your tasks to reduce overwhelm and make sure the urgent doesn’t overtake the important.
A master list can:
- Ensure you are prepared for the influx of volunteers and activities that come with the holiday season.
- Track you have additional resources and support lined up so you won’t drain your organization.
- Guarantee everyone knows their responsibilities and roles in each event, including your board of directors and management team and how you’d like them to participate in end-of-year activities.
- Act as a checklist for each initiative so that you do not forget any important details.
- Document financial projections for each event or donation campaign to get an estimate of what you plan to bring in.
In addition, consider including partnerships in your holiday strategy. Identifying different organizations or businesses to partner with can help reach your target audience and increase your impact this holiday season.
Take Advantage of Key Dates
The holiday season is filled with many opportunities to remind people about your organization and why they should support you. Don’t let these opportunities pass you by without taking a moment to engage, thank, and inform your supporters.
The last quarter of the year is the ideal time to reach out to all major donors who have contributed throughout the year and thank them for their annual donations. Remind them what their donations helped accomplish and reiterate the overall goal and mission statement of your organization.
Come Giving Tuesday and throughout the holiday season, your organization will be top of mind for your biggest supporters, who will appreciate being acknowledged for their contribution. When it comes time for them to prioritize their year-end giving, your nonprofit organization will be at the top of their list.
2. Prepare your marketing plan
Your non-profit organization’s marketing strategy is important year-round, but especially during the holidays. Your marketing strategy and fundraising strategy can be the difference between hitting your goals and not, so don’t skip out on it.
Here are a few tips to help you prepare your marketing plan:
- Keep your website updated and relevant. Direct people to your website and always have an easily-accessible place for prospective donors to make an online donation.
- Ensure your social media pages are up-to-date and engaging. Post about upcoming events, fundraising plans, and initiatives to rev up community engagement and potential target donors.
- Consider creating an email newsletter to send out at different times throughout the holiday season.
- Email your donors on a regular basis to keep them up-to-date on different initiatives and events that are going on during the holidays.
- Set a timeframe to reach out to donors and acknowledge their donations throughout the year and thank them for their support.
The holidays are a great time to get creative when planning your marketing strategy. Consider these ideas to get your message across in a fun and unique way:
- Use a seasonal theme to connect with your audience.
- Send emails with holiday greetings to remind people to give back.
- Create a video that shows your organization in action.
- Host a contest to encourage people to spread the word about your organization to new potential donors.
3. Make it easy to donate
When it comes time for businesses and individuals to make a donation, it will be beneficial to your organization if you have an easy way for donors to give.
Choose one of the following to make the experience as seamless as possible for potential contributors to give back:
Create a page and link to it from your website so that donors can easily make donations. Your marketing can be easy and simple, and always direct them to donate on your website.
- Have a clear call to action on your homepage that will take them to this donation page.
- Give them the option to set up recurring donations.
- Display your fundraising goal on the page and show the progress to increase urgency.
Planning fundraisers is one of the easiest ways to raise funds for your nonprofit during the holidays. Regardless of what your event is during the holidays, there are a few things you can do to make it easy for people to donate.
- Consider selling tickets so that you can easily raise funds before the event even begins.
- Have a donation station conveniently located at your event for easy giving.
- Set up stations with tablets or computers for people to donate electronically.
Texting has become a popular method of communication, and most people have their mobile devices with them at all times, so you’re sure to get in front of your audience right away. So if you want to engage your audience, then consider using text-giving.
- Create a campaign where people can text a keyword or phrase to receive information from your organization.
- Include information about upcoming events, how they can volunteer, or any other information you would like to share.
- Always include a link to your donation page so people can easily donate online. Make sure your donation page is mobile-friendly.
More donations don’t equal more spending
The holiday season is always a busy time for nonprofits and is usually when a large number of donations come in the door.
It’s always important to identify where your money is going and ensure that you use it wisely. Considering this, take some time at the end of the year to review your financial status, audit your program costs, and review your long-term plans. And always ensure that what you’re spending money on is to further your cause and mission and doesn’t create a need for more resources and money.