Good news for email communications

Even though we can all agree that we are constantly inundated with emails –  professional, personal, solicitations, coupon codes that we save and never actually use – there is some great news for your organization’s email correspondence:

According to the 2020 Global Email Marketing Benchmark report by Campaign Monitor, average open rates for emails where up in 2019. If you don’t have time read the entire report, check out AFP’s summary of the nonprofit results of report: https://afpglobal.org/average-open-rates-nonprofit-email-increases-2019. You can even find out which days of the week have the highest open and click-through rates!

Take time to read in 2020

The Association of Fundraising Professionals published an article last month containing a great list of “work-related reading.” Since the beginning of the year is often a time for reflection and forward thinking, consider taking a few minutes a day (or week or month… wherever you have the time) to better yourself professionally. Whether you’d like to be a better manager, learn how to unlock your (or your organization’s) potential, or even discover history about philanthropy and raising money 150 years go, this piece is a good place to start:

Make 2020 the Year to Be Well Informed.

I can’t wait to dive into some of these, as well!

New Year, New Data Audits

Happy New Year! I hope you had a moment to pat yourself on the back after a busy and successful end-of-calendar year. But there’s never REALLY down time in fundraising, is there? Now that the checks have been deposited, thank you notes have been sent and reports have been run, it’s time to refocus and regroup.

January is a great time to take a look at your database and perform a few important audits.

  1. Missing fields: we all have it – it’s just a matter of finding it. Do you have missing fields? Sometimes constituents are added without a gender. Maybe you have a few missing zip codes here and there. This one is simple – choose the field you think may have missing data and build a query around this field being “blank.” Then you will know if you have a handful of records that need to be updated or a larger project at hand.
  2. Donation data: it’s always good to have checks and balances of donation processing to improve accuracy. Now is a good time to take a look and think about your data. Are your codes for donation giving you the power that you need to report? Have you developed new programs that don’t quite fit into your code structure?  Take inventory and see what works and what might be missing.
  3. Contact info: did you receive a pile of undeliverable mail from your year-end appeal? Or maybe a handful of bounce-backs from your email solicitation? Make sure to check and update these records in your constituent database and any other services you use such as your digital marketing platforms. Taking these small steps will reduce your costs in sending mail that will never reach its intended target!
  4. Codes/Attributes: just like donation data, now is a perfect time to reflect on what codes and attributes are most useful to you. And more importantly, are they working? Are there new pieces of information you’d like to see or see in a different way? Maybe you just started a new series of events and want to track attendance or perhaps you just began utilizing prospect research and want to track your findings. Look at the big picture and see how these details can aid your overall goals. Then come up with a plan for it!

What are some other ways you plan to audit your data? If you have ideas but need help implementing, reach me at brittany@hillcrestadvancement.com!

Tips for researching foundations better

iWave recently published a guest blog about ways that you can better research and raise more money from foundations. No, this isn’t typically the time of year that development professionals have time to dive into research for new foundations; but this is definitely worth a read or at the very least, a bookmark.

Foundation funding is as integral as it is challenging for your annual budget. When you have a great relationship with a foundation, receiving the right grants for the right projects can happen seamlessly; but when you are searching for those new funders, that’s where the research comes in handy. Take a look at some of the great tips for researching foundations and how you can make the most of your precious time!

https://www.iwave.com/2019/10/29/how-to-research-better-and-raise-more-money-with-foundations/

Now that you have some ideas, reach me at brittany@hillcrestadvancement.com to get started achieving your foundation research goals!