Most nonprofits experience a significant lull in donations and donor activity in the months of January and February. The post year end doldrums.
Donors are slow to give, having distributed their 2010 charitable contributions during the ebullience of the holiday season.
Consumers are recovering from gift purchases.
The weather makes for hermits, with snow, ice and early nightfall urging more indoor, stay at home activities.
And snow birds have fled for warmer climates, leaving their local neighbors and friends to fend until spring.
This is the perfect time to grow your philanthropy program!
No other time in the calendar year do you have the potential to capture your audience’s undivided attention.
With all of the inactivity your donor and prospective donor is engaged in, you can offer a variety of options to help keep them entertained and informed, from the comfort of their warm living rooms.
- Give them good reading for a cold winters night. January and February are the perfect time to send out newsy information on your group, your past success, your future plans. Make sure your communication is meaty and news worthy, capturing the weather dulled eye of your constituency.
- And to make sure those e-newsletters get to the right place, this is a perfect time to clean up your database. With the reduced number of donations being processed and less visits to be made, your staff should spend time tidying up. Use an email verification software provider or staff can correspond and validate emails themselves. Capture address and phone while you are at it.
- While you’re assessing, audit your grant programs, ensuring that you are on track with grantors expectations. Send love notes to all your grantors, with New Year greetings and a true note of appreciation for what their funding has provided to your clients/mission.
- Spruce up your website, e-newsletters and social marketing plans for the coming year. Increase the frequency with which you are sending e-notices on your organizations marketing efforts, driving traffic to your newly spiffed up site.
- Your staff has unique insight and talent, let others know! Identify media outlets and negotiate opportunities for your staff to contribute articles or podcasts on activities of interest, connected to your mission. A schools newsletter might appreciate a guest blogger or author writing about the importance of home support in education. A local grocer might find an article from an expert in the field of nutrition, valuable in their marketing to their customers. Nows the time to get those pieces written and published. And don’t dismiss national journals. They need good writing too.
- Lay the ground work for your spring appeal. Collectively send out notice to your annual donors, giving them insight and a sneak peak at your case for the spring and summer months.
- Train your board. Your board meets regularly and has clearly defined agendas. Make the January or February agenda one that focuses on philanthropy. A little bit of elbow grease and knowledge sharing by the board, will prepare them for an active and engaged year.
- If you are planning a feasibility study, plan to launch it now. Most study participants can be reached by phone or online, so travel is less necessary. Staff has more time to devote to feasibility study efforts. And the sobering months of January and February will flavor the feedback from your constituents, providing a more realistic and conservative view of your organizations ability to raise those funds through a campaign.