The mantra “Work smarter, not harder” is not an excuse to slack off but a reminder to be efficient; so you can do more with less.
As a fundraiser, you likely feel the crunch of limited resources at your organization, so you need to know how to make the most out of your limited time to maximize your productivity.
How can you work smarter to improve your fundraising performance?
The productivity tips for fundraisers that we will lay out here will help you be more productive in your overall fundraising strategy and your day-to-day work as a fundraiser.
How To Be More Productive with Your Nonprofit’s Fundraising Strategy
Optimizing your fundraising strategy does take some time, but it will increase your fundraising performance in the long run. These fundraising tips will help you improve the chance of achieving fundraising success in three steps: zoom out, identify pain points, and experiment and learn.
1. Zoom Out
It can be hard to take a break from the grind of the day-to-day tasks that you need to check off, but taking the time to look at the broader picture can be incredibly valuable.
Take a look at your organization’s fundraising efforts as a whole. Map out your fundraising funnel and try to find the sticking points. Where do donors get stuck or fall off the wagon entirely? Those are the places you should spend your time experimenting to see a high return on your effort.
You can find out where this is happening using data analytics, which will allow you to track your donor’s journey through the funnel. For example, when you zoom out and look at your donor journey, you may see that you have an excellent donor acquisition rate, but they tend to drop off fairly quickly. Now you won’t waste your time focusing on getting more donors but can focus on the donors you already have.
2. Identify Pain Points
Now that you have found the sticking points in your funnel, you need to figure out why people are getting stuck there. Are they not receiving enough communication from your organization? Are they being engaged in the wrong way?
Data analytics can help you track your donors’ journey and help you figure out where the pain points are. To continue the previous example, you may turn to your donor churn rate to help you identify when, along their journey, donors tend to churn. Maybe they tend to make only one donation then move on. This observation gives you a specific place to focus your attention.
3. Experiment And Learn
Now that you have identified your sticking point and understand why people are getting stuck, you can test a solution. I hate to break it to you, but the first solution you try may not solve the problem. That’s why you need to experiment. Implement a solution, test it and track how it is going. This is a learning opportunity for you!
Keep an eye on your solution and see if it is impacting the KPI you are tracking. Then go back to the drawing board and experiment with a new solution, remembering to only ever change one piece of your process at a time, so you know what is impacting your results. Repeat this process until you’re happy with the results.
Returning to our previous example, the churn rate told you that people tend to leave after making a single donation. So, you could test engaging donors more actively after that first donation, such as setting up a follow-up call shortly after the donation or running re-engagement campaigns.
By continuously keeping an eye on the big picture of your organization’s fundraising strategy, you can be sure that you are working efficiently. Your fundraising efforts will be more productive.
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How To Be More Productive As A Fundraiser
Now that you’ve worked on increasing your fundraising productivity at the strategy level, let’s look at some tips to be more productive in your day-to-day work as a fundraiser: taking stock, delegating, time blocking and task batching, and staying organized.
4. Take Stock
Take stock of your daily fundraising activities. Write down all of the tasks you do (especially the mundane ones!) and how long it takes you to perform each task. This way, you can see what tasks are eating up your time. It may surprise you how much time you spend reading emails as opposed to on calls with donors. You are essentially establishing your baseline, so this is an essential first step to being more productive.
Once you’ve taken stock, you can move on to optimizing your task list. To get started, consider delegating your tasks.
What tasks can you pass on because they take up too much of your time, or you aren’t the optimal person to take them on? Is there someone else on your team who is good at measuring KPIs who can help you complete specific tasks in half the time? Or can you use an AI-powered fundraising enablement tool to get the job done in even less time?
We all have our strengths, and we should play to them when we can. Remember, don’t only look to team members for delegation, though. Can you delegate tasks to technology? Tools like KIT can take tasks off your list so you can get on with fundraising.
6. Time Blocking and Task Batching
There are several articles online that can help you become a time blocking and task batching expert, so I will save you the details. But the essence of these two methods is this: set aside large blocks of time to work on a specific type of task.
Group similar activities together, so you perform them during an assigned. And I don’t mean multitasking. I mean doing similar tasks on the same day, for example. It turns out that multitasking is very inefficient, and when you work on one task for a more extended period, you are more productive.
So, set aside a block of time, say Tuesday afternoons, to write and mail off donor thank you notes. This process saves you time spent searching for postage, thinking of thoughtful messaging and walking to post boxes multiple times in the month. And if you’re a nonprofit email marketer, you won’t have to spend two to three days brainstorming the theme of your next fundraising email.
Batching tasks and using time blocks will help you get into a rhythm quickly and get more quality work done.
7. Stay Organized
Set aside an afternoon in your schedule to do a digital clean-out.
Being a fundraiser is busy, and things can get hectic. Setting aside some time to set things straight can help you get on top of things, so you spend less time scrambling. Items you might want to include are updating donor contact lists, clearing out your inbox or automating emails.
One way to stay organized is by automating tasks that have been cluttering your to-do list. Do you keep writing the same emails over and over again? Write a template so you can fire it off quickly. Is your team constantly updating each other on donor contact emails? Get a donor management software to do the heavy lifting for you.
Putting a few hours into organization and learning to be organized will help you be more productive in your day-to-day fundraising efforts.
Smart Fundraising is Productive Fundraising
You already work hard; it’s time to work smarter so all of that effort doesn’t go to waste.
Make sure your fundraising strategy is efficient so you can improve your nonprofit’s outputs, outcomes and overall performance. Then, ensure you’re working on the right tasks at each given time to maximize your fundraising performance. 41% of 2019 donors were retained to give again in 2020, but only 25% of online donors. You don’t have to work 16% harder to retain those donors this year- just apply a few changes to work a little bit smarter.
You’ve got this, fundraiser! If you’re looking for some support, you can always turn to KIT’s fundraising enablement tool to help you work efficiently and with better accuracy.