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Black-and-white painting of a representation of the month of January, the god Janus, a bearded man with two faces in profile pointed in opposite directions, on a plastered section of brick wall

January is Nearly Gone…But Not Forgotten

Can it possibly be the last week in January already?   Did you ever wonder where the month of January got its name?  It’s named in honor of the Roman god Janus:  the god of beginnings and transitions, the guardian of doors and gates. Quite fitting for the first month of the year.

Janus is usually depicted having two heads facing opposite directions.  One looks back and the other looks forward.  As we prepare to “close the gates” on January and step boldly into February, perhaps we can take some of the words most often associated with Janus and apply them to your mission:

Doors/Gates 

Do you offer your donors multiple “gateways” to giving?  Are you meeting them everywhere they are – online, on their phone, at home, in person – so you intersect with their lives when they are ready to give?  To make the most of giving, you have to offer a plethora of ways to give. Provide options and see what door donors choose.   

Beginnings

Before month’s end, why not make a commitment to embark on something new that will enhance your mission.  Look back on something you recently completed and brainstorm ways you can improve it in the future. There’s always a way to put a new spin on something and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the impact a fresh twist can have!

Put your Best Face Forward

Make sure you are clearly communicating your vision and how donor support brings your mission to life.  But it’s more than just words.  Strong visual imagery must be a component of your communications.  Put a face to the story for a stronger emotional link.

As I think about what the Roman god Janus symbolizes, I can’t help but draw a link between Janus and the role of a development director and/or and business manager at many non-profit organizations. In this role, these dedicated professionals are truly the gatekeepers to the success of the organization’s mission.  

But, they can only be as good as the tools they have to support their function.  Does your organization have a state-of-the-art donor management system in place to help power your mission?  One that provides up-to-date metrics for administrators while simultaneously offering donors a simple and intuitive way to support your organization?  

If not, it’s time to think about transitioning to a new system so you can reap the many benefits.  Let GiveCentral show you how we can help you keep moving forward.

When it comes to communicating a mission, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the best.

Words to Live By: Inspiration from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

As the nation celebrates the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and honors the accomplishments of this visionary leader, I am struck by what are arguably his four most famous words: – “I HAVE A DREAM” – and how that applies to every organization. Your mission is the vision – or dream – for your organization. It’s the driving force behind what you do and the reason your donors support you. Take a page from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and ensure you are effectively communicating your mission. Communication is as much art as it is science, which is why you should have a strategic communications plan in place. It will serve as a road map for what you are communicating, when, why and to whom. While you are bound to have detours, both expected and unexpected, having a plan helps you to stay on course as you build and strengthen relationships with your donors. There is an art to storytelling, so when developing your communications, keep in mind these three essentials C’s of content:

Compelling

Paint a picture that grabs the reader’s attention, interest and even heartstrings. Not dull and uninspired.

Clear

Clarity is key. Use small words, short sentences, short paragraphs. Make sure readers know what you are saying or asking.

Concise

People are time-starved. Tell your story in the fewest possible words. No rambling. No redundancy.Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of history’s best communicators. Today, as we remember his legacy and hear recordings of some of his most famous speeches, listen with a communicator’s ear. How did he use words to inspire and persuade people to join the civil rights movement? What role did communications play in helping him achieve his dream? What can you learn from him and apply to your communications efforts so you can continue to advance your mission?

Let GiveCentral help you achieve financial fitness!

Financial Fitness: Tips to Keep your Fundraising in Good Shape

Strengthen your financial fitness

Seems like everyone is on a fitness plan these days, myself included. Which got me thinking… applying the same principle to work life makes a lot of sense. So this year, put a twist on an old new year’s resolution standby – to get in shape – and apply it to your nonprofit. Get your fundraising in shape by creating a health and wellness plan for your organization’s fundraising efforts. Here are some expert tips to get you started:

Bulk up your database.  

The path to long-term vitality is cultivating and growing your donor database.  Simply put, donors are the lifeline of your organization. That’s why it’s critical to have a donor (customer) relationship management system (CRM) in place. The world’s most successful companies wouldn’t dream of operating without a CRM system, and you shouldn’t either.And while growing your mailing list and donor database may seem intimidating, it may be easier than you think. You can ask your volunteer leaders to share the email addresses of their group members, or ask current members to invite a friend or three who might be interested in learning more about your mission.

Repetition.  

The key to success for any exercise is repetition and the same goes for your donors.  Do you have a way for your donors to easily make recurring donations? 

Flex your fundraising muscle.

Offering your donors flexibility is key. Anytime, anywhere they are ready to give, make it easy for them! Make sure to provide donors options so they can donate on their terms, not yours. 

Stay Active.

It’s no secret regular communication is an important driver of donation growth.  Keep your organization top of mind through consistent, compelling communications.  Make your first message of 2016 a big “Thank You!” Include a positive story about the great ways your donors have positively impacted the community by supporting your mission.


We can help you put these proven tips (and lots more) into action. Think of GiveCentral as your fitness trainer, a partner dedicated to keeping your fundraising in great shape!

a hand with the index finger extended upward and a string tied around it

Make a Resolution for Your Best Fundraising Year Ever

The new year is upon us, and we’re all ready for a fresh start. How’s your plan for 2016? Now’s the time to make a resolution to have your best fundraising year ever.We’ve prepared a quick, 10-step checklist to help you make sure you’ve got the pieces in place for a fantastic year of giving in 2016.

1. Our donate button is easy to find on our website.

a screen shot of St. Margaret Mary's home page featuring Christmas messaging and a donation button
In December, St. Margaret Mary Church was ready for Christmas giving, with a DONATE NOW button right near the top of the page and a slider highlighting their Christmas events.

2. We have included recurring giving options on most, if not all, of our online giving events.

screen shot of a giving page with Annual giving selected
The Church of Holy Apostles lets you set up your Christmas gift for multiple years at once. You can do this for any holiday or annual event!

3. Our email messages have catchy subject lines that invite donors to open them.

screen shot of a Google inbox with messages from St. Josaphat Church
St. Josaphat keeps things interesting by varying email subject lines for special events while maintaining their regular newsletter.

4. Our outreach is focused on our donors, not us.

an older couple in warm clothes, turned around with one arm over the back of a bench
These are the folks you want to impress. Not your board, not your boss… focus on the DONORS.

5. We include a compelling image in each message.

screen shot of the Office for Peace and Justice home page with an image of a refugee child
The Office for Peace and Justice illustrates their need with one strong image to indicate what your donation will support.

6. Our emails tell a story, but are short enough to be reasonably read on a smartphone.

closeup of a man's hand holding a mobile phone
People are busy! Make a resolution to make your emails easy to read on the go.

7. We are utilizing our social media channels daily to bolster our message of giving.

a screen shot of St. John Berchmans Twitter account
Interspersing charitable and mission-based messages, St. John Berchmans led into the Christmas season with something for everyone.

8. We have planned a day-before giving message with a sense of urgency and a clear call to action.

a calendar with Christmas Day circled in pencil
Your target is that one special event on a particular day, but your plan starts now.

9. We have a plan in place to thank our donors, and to follow up with them to share the results of their gifts.

a fountain pen next to the words "Thank you" written in script
Thank you notes were important at Christmas, certainly, but make a resolution to follow up again throughout the new year.

10. We have started a fundraising plan for 2016!

hands writing in a date-planner book
A resolution of better planning will ensure an even better fiscal year. Start with an outline and build from there.