3 Rules for a (Donor-Centered) New Year’s Resolution that Will Stick

It’s that time of year again. Time to reflect, regroup and put your best foot forward for the new year. According to Statistic Brain, people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t. That’s powerful! 

Here are 3 Rules to set yourself up for success with your new year’s resolutions.

Rule #1:  Don’t take on too much! 

You’ll be more likely to succeed if you focus on one specific goal instead of trying to change everything in your life. Here's the one goal I am suggesting:  Be More Donor-centered in Your Work.

I know, easier said than done, right? Hear me out.

Donor-centered, as the term implies, means putting your donors at the center of everything you – as a nonprofit organization – do.

What does this mean? It means:

  • Your fundraising strategies are built around your donors’ interests.
  • Your fundraising ask letters and thank you letters are written for your donor.
  • Your newsletter focuses on donor impact.
  • Your meetings with donors focus on what your donors would like to do.
  • (The list goes on and on.)

Too often, nonprofit organizations spend all of their time and energy explaining how great they are, how important their missions are, and how wonderful their results are. Although it’s certainly important to share this information, it’s most important to frame all of it in terms of donor impact.

How have donors helped your organization to do all of these wonderful things? How can donors continue—or even increase—their impact? Donors want to make a difference in the world. When you help align prospects and donors with opportunities that are meaningful to them, you will be rewarded with support for your mission.

Rule #2:  Make goals that are specific and measurable.

To be effective, your resolution to “be more donor-centered in your work” must be specific. The bullets above are a place to start. For additional suggestions, see Fundraising Success Magazine’s 20 Ways to Be More Donor-Centric. Remember: trying to conquer 20 new things in 2014 goes against Rule #1. I suggest starting the year by implementing 2-3 donor-centered practices.

The practices that you choose should be measurable. For example, if you decide to send your donor acknowledgment letters more quickly, then set a measurable deadline of 24 or 48 hours within receipt of the gift.

If your resolution is to focus your face-to-face meetings on the donor’s interests, then make a list of 10 donor-focused questions and aim to ask at least 5 of these questions in each meeting.

If you nail your first 2-3 donor-centered practices early on in 2014—and have the systems in place to make them stick—consider adding another. 

Rule #3:  BELIEVE that you can stick with your resolutions and reach your goals. 

The power of positive thinking is undeniable. If you believe that you will succeed, then you are on the path to success. If positive thinking is not the norm for you, Success Consciousness outlines several practical instructions to turn your mind to the positive.

Let’s recap the 3 Rules for new year’s resolution success:

  • Rule #1:  Don’t take on too much.
  • Rule #2:  Make goals that are specific and measurable.
  • Rule #3:  Believe that you can stick with your resolutions.

Have you set any donor-centered resolutions for 2014? I would love to hear yours!

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