A new year can be full of possibilities—especially when nonprofit communicators and fundraisers spend the end of the year frantically writing e-mails, stuffing envelopes, and hosting events. So once you’ve taken some time to decompress and get back to some degree of normalcy, it’s time to look to the next year, and having to do it all over again.
So what are some ways you can make the most of this year? Here are a few suggestions I have for kick-starting your communications in 2018!
1) Write better subject lines
This has become my biggest nonprofit communications pet peeve (which is impressive, because it’s a long list). Stop writing subject lines that immediately give away that you’re fundraising, such as, “Support us in 2018!” or “Join us at the event next week!”
Constant Contact just published a very good blog post about how to write better subject lines, so take a look at it for some subject-line-inspiration.
2) Start a story bank
Story banks make your life SO MUCH EASIER. So much. Seriously. I have a whole blog post just about story banks and I even offer a free one on my website. Get one started and you’ll see it will save you time!
3) Start tracking website conversions
Do you ever wish you could know how many people actually donated to your organization from following a link on your social media? You can do that! It’s a bit of a pain to set up, but once it’s done, it will make your evaluation much easier and, more importantly, more effective. And if you’re planning a website redesign, it’s easier than ever to put this tracking in place.
In addition, with the changes to Google AdWords, conversions are more important than ever to set up, and will help immensely with nay campaign you have.
4) Write a great elevator pitch
How many times do you hear someone in your organization explain one of your programs and then look at them bewilderedly (yes, that’s a word) when you have no idea what they’re talking about? That’s probably because your organization doesn’t have an effective elevator pitch.
Now, you can always hire a consultant to work with you to write one, but you can also take a crack at it yourself. In fact, it may be good to write one and try it out for a few months before hiring someone.
Here are two blog posts I wrote: The Easy Elevator Pitch for your Nonprofit (Part 1 and Part 2)
5) Write weekly evaluations
I know, I know. This sucks. But I’m telling you, it is one of the best things you can do improve (and prove) the efficacy of your communications.
Here are some simple suggestions I give:
- Start an excel sheet to input quantitative metrics for social media, e-mail, web visits, etc. for every week
- Include one qualitative box for something that happened that week that is NOT included in the numbers. For example, if you gained a notable follower or wrote an especially effective blog post.
- Have a bigger section for monthly learnings. What did you learn about your audience or content that month? Did a particular news story cause more people to visit your site? Did you try spending money on Facebook advertising that did work? Or maybe didn’t work? Write it down.
These three steps will give you a formal place to write all this down and revisit later. It will help you when you’re in a performance review, or asking for additional money for your budget, or even when you leave the job and someone else takes your place. There are other easy things you can do to measure your communications, which are always important!
Happy New Year, and have a great 2018!