As you look ahead to your resolutions and plans for 2015, you may be struggling to juggle today’s goals with yesterday’s challenges and tomorrow’s uncertainty. It can be hard to forget about past blunders, focus on the present, and plan for the future all at the same time, especially when your list of priorities only continues to grow. Make 2015 the year you let go of the professional baggage, adopt new best practices, and surpass your goals.
These are three common challenges nonprofits face when balancing the past, present, and future, and how to put them to bed over the next twelve months:
The Challenge: Although the recession had a delayed and lengthy impact on the nonprofit space, it’s (finally!) behind us. People are giving again, campaigns are growing, there’s abundance to be harnessed. The mentality of scarcity no longer serves us – there are plenty of resources to connect, engage, and activate for your mission. It’s time to adopt a mindset of growth rather than one of recovery or maintenance.
How To Move Forward: Start by evaluating what has worked in the last year. Come back to your strongest supporters, show them you are fired up, and ready to tackle big goals in 2015 with their help. Invest your time, people, and money in areas that will drive mission impact and generate the largest return.
The Challenge: As nonprofits consider launching new P2P fundraising programs and brainstorm how to optimize existing ones, many are in denial about what’s holding them back from reaching their true potential. As Patrick Lencioni advises, tell yourself the naked truth. Start by asking yourself these three questions:
Do you have a core group of supporters within your organization that you can count on to get behind your next launch idea and be its catalyst for growth?
Are you letting a sacred cow – a process, belief, or approach that you and your staff have never questioned because “it’s just how we’ve always done it” – stand in your way and limit your thinking?
Have you continued to let an organizational-wide bad habit continue because no one wants to own the charge of changing it?
How To Move Forward: If any of this sounds familiar, decide that today is the day to look in the mirror and commit to change. Change management doesn’t happen overnight, but it must start somewhere. Collect the data and facts that validate what roadblocks exist, then articulate a compelling vision for what your program could accomplish without those barriers. Build a case for how to remove them, with input and support from your team. Finally, be patient and diligent. Building support, slaying the sacred cow, and replacing bad habits with good ones takes time and persistence. Through frank and authentic conversations, you’ll soon see those roadblocks fade away in your rear-view mirror.
The Challenge: While nonprofits are beginning to recognize the need for sophisticated technology to facilitate their operations and communicate with constituents, it can be tough to keep up with the latest trends. Before you can get a grip on one trend, it becomes obsolete and another surfaces. The difficulty lies in figuring out which trends have sticking power for you and your constituents.
Does the tool allow your audience to learn about your mission and become connected to your cause?
Does the tool allow your audience to engage with your organization in meaningful ways?
Does the tool allow you to steward your constituents both before and after they donate?
Does the tool allow you to learn about your audience and create a community of supporters, or are the possible interactions only surface level?
Is the tool user-friendly and easily customizable to your needs?
By asking yourself these questions, you can determine whether you’ll be able to build long-term relationships with your supporters, and how active and engaged your constituents are likely to be. You should also investigate which technologies your audience is currently using, which platforms allow you to engage with them the most, and how user-friendly the platforms are. Together, these insights can help you decide what technological trends are worth investing in and which are just fads.
It’s our hope that in twelve months you can reflect on 2015 and say “we believed in our ability to grow, we were honest with ourselves about our opportunities and challenges, and we took action to evolve in those areas.” We look forward to witnessing and supporting your dreams of evolution in P2P fundraising!
Fuel your organization's success by learning which peer-to-peer fundraising trends will help your organization achieve your goals. Download our free e-book "The Expansive Impact of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising" and share it with your team!