Spring is here and it’s the perfect time to spend a few hours once a week to get to some of those projects that have escaped your attention. Where to start? What will have the greatest return on your time investment? Our suggestions for what will provide the greatest value for your nonprofit spring-cleaning follows:
Start with your website. Go through your comments or emails and cross check that you’ve responded. Frequently, unsolicited partner or business opportunities come through nonprofit websites that we may not pay enough attention to, and should be vetted as time permits.
Consider reviewing your images as well. Check that they are all mobile friendly and that they also have alternate text tags for individuals whose browsers don’t load images. Click through your social integrations on your website and be sure they all load on your and your coworkers’ phones as expected. Google provides a mobile friendly test for free by simply dropping in your website’s URL.
Lastly, take a look at your website with fresh eyes as the end user and think through the clicks they might need to take. Is it welcoming? Does it take a few clicks to get to a common page or is it too deep in your site? Perhaps you need to rethink your web architecture. Maybe you’re featuring a program led by an individual who no longer plays a significant role in your organization. Your website should reflect your organization’s current state and with donors getting more savvy then ever, it only increases in importance. Spending a small amount of time in reflective thought here can allow for strategic action as you prioritize for the year.
Move more systems, processes, and or databases to the cloud (and go electronic if you have yet to do that!). Have you moved your volunteer registrations to an online site? If so, congratulations! That was likely a big culture shift and required a lot of effort to set up and get running. But isn’t it easier looking back at it? Let’s use that thinking to decide what other areas can go digital as well. Consider moving your board meeting materials all electronic. Whether you’re emailing PDF’s or utilizing a cloud based storage system like dropbox or google cloud, each has no initial costs and can stay free or low cost for some time.
Clean. Your. Data. This is tedious but one of the few things you can do that will have a very clear ROI – both on time, and with fundraising dollars. Donors that receive solicitations with errors are more likely to dismiss them or worse, throw them away. Similarly, donors that have repeatedly asked a nonprofit to fix spellings or contact information will eventually disregard your nonprofit as disorganized and poor stewards of their dollars. Start with you most often used fields like Salutations, Titles, States, and First Names. Do you know which ‘Edward’ in your database prefers to be addressed as ‘Ed’? Be sure that field is up to date so that your mail merge goes quicker, has fewer manual edits, and saves you time in the future.
You may also want to consider spending time diving deeper into the reporting function of your database to build custom reports that more closely match what your executives and board members are looking for. Often times this investment of time will make reporting through the year less time consuming and more effective for leadership decision making.
Lastly, take a look through your pile of returned mail. Spend some time updating addresses that provide forwarding as an initial quick fix and save the others that require research for phase two. The White Pages online is a free resource that can be cross checked to find your donors’ new address if they forgot to provide the Post Office with a forwarding address.
What other projects are on your list? Share what you have successfully done or what you want some guidance on with us @StarfishMarta.
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