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January 9, 2014

Three things your nonprofit can’t afford to ignore in 2014

Last year around this time I wrote about the impact that big data and social media were having on nonprofit fundraising, and Dan Gunderman, Big Duck’s Creative Director, wrote his ever-popular ‘words to avoid’ blog post for 2013. Since then, we’ve all been striving to optimize our constituents to engage in our Interweb ecosystems.

I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, but I am a big fan of taking a step back and reflecting. So when the Chronicle of Philanthropy asked us what Nonprofits should stop doing in 2014, I couldn’t help but start thinking about what’s different this year.

In truth, nonprofits are so varied in size and capacity that I often feel it’s unreasonable to make one-size-fits-all, sector-wide recommendations. I won’t even go there. But if you’re thinking about the big rocks you’ll try to tackle in 2014, here are a few things I hope you won’t ignore.

  1. Don’t put lipstick on a pig.  No functional strategic plan in place? Staff working in silos? Internal systems and technologies a mess? Want to kill your colleagues? Get your internal house in order before you spend time or money on big external projects or new initiatives in 2014. More and more, we Ducks find that fixing what’s broken inside is a critical first step toward raising more money, increasing awareness, and other goals traditionally considered ‘external’.
  2. Plan to communicate better in 2014. If your internal house is in order, this is the perfect time of year to review your communications calendar and plan the year ahead. Don’t just consider what each department wants to send out; think about your organization’s voice, overarching goals, and the story you want to tell. Having a content strategy in place will help get you started, as will this article.
  3. Keep an eye on Facebook. Facebook has recently made a lot of changes that affect nonprofits.  Farra Trompeter, Big Duck’s Vice President, wrote two must-read articles on the subject: “Facebook for nonprofits: moving your marketing beyond the ‘like’”, and “Maybe you can raise money on Facebook after all…”, which explains Facebook’s new ability to accept donations. In 2014, keeping an eye on Facebook’s blog might also help your organization decide if changes warrant a lighter or deeper investment.