I find it so easy to keep looking for the new thing, pressing toward the next deadline, looking for the next big "win," that I tend to forget routine maintenance systems. But just like our cars need routine maintenance or they'll fall apart, so do our fundraising systems.
As we begin 2016, here are some places to check.
4 Routine Maintenance Ideas
Check your donation page
As a general practice, you should be testing all of your website's forms and functions at least quarterly. That goes for donation forms, subscription boxes, and any other advanced tools you may offer like mapping, calculators, and visualizations.
I strongly recommend testing donation forms no later than 11/1 annually!
Check your copyright
While you're on your website, go ahead and look at the copyright notice down in the footer (at the bottom of your pages). If your nonprofit typically includes the current year but it doesn't say 2016, make sure that gets updated too. Donors will see something like that and think that you're not serious or up-to-date. When I mentioned this to colleague Lauren Girardin, she said:
Yikes, don't do this manually every year. Here's code that updates the year automatically. I'd go with PHP. http://updateyourfooter.com/
She's definitely got a point. If you have the technical ability, or know someone who does, automating this would be much simpler in the long run.
Check you Facebook messages "other" folder
If you use Facebook for work like many of us do - there are some pretty amazing groups to help with all sorts of things including work and software tech support - be sure to check your "other" folder. In Facebook, friends can message you. But non-friends messages get sent to the "other" folder. (Currently called "message requests.") It's mostly spam but there can be some important messages too. You can find that here:
It's a good idea to also check your nonprofit page messages. Facebook tells visitors how responsive your organization is to questions and messages. If responsiveness on Facebook is important to your branding and communications, checking this regularly is important.
Check your plan
Successful fundraising isn't flashy. It's the result of consistent, reliable, strategic choices. So now, at the beginning of the calendar year, check your plan. I find it helpful to review the calendar year even when it's different than my organization's fiscal year. This perspective can help make sure things are lined up correctly.
If major gifts is your thing, I blogged about that to nonprofit executive directors over on The Concord Leadership Group blog and linked to a great post by the Veritus Group.
Routine maintenance keeps your fundraising machine humming
Those are just four things to check as the new year starts. Fortunately, none of them really needs to take a long time. But doing them will keep your fundraising machine humming nicely for the next few thousand miles.
What other routine maintenance tasks have you found helpful in your work? Tell us in the comments below!