It’s easy for fundraising professionals to get trapped in a winter, post-holiday blues mindset. The tax year has just ended, and the frenzy of year end stewardship, cultivation and solicitations is done. Besides, still dealing with the uncertainty of a global pandemic and its effects on our wellbeing.  

But it’s a new year, and you have the opportunity to hit the ground running. Consider this quick blog post the pep talk that you need today. Although 2020 was, for many, one of the most challenging years in memory, 2021 could be a great new beginning for your organization.

  • POSITIVITY: Start with a positive mindset. Starting strong and seeing early results will help keep your motivation high as you begin a new year. 
  • REFLECT: January is an excellent time to reflect and plan. Look back at last year and consider what challenges and opportunities you faced. Learn from mistakes and seize upon tactics that worked well. 
  • PLAN: Consider a mid-year staff retreat (if you are on a fiscal year) or a beginning of the year retreat (if you are on a calendar year). Review your goals and make adjustments as needed.
  • REACH OUT: While reflecting and planning and having retreats are critical to success, be sure you are continuing to solicit your donors with confidence. Your nonprofit’s mission continues to need funding, and your case for support should remain strong.  
  • BOARD ENERGY: Make sure your board stays energized through the winter months. Consider beginning your next board meeting with a heartfelt reminder of the impact that giving has on your nonprofit. Ask board members to share why they are involved with your organization. Be clear with board members about the goals you hope to achieve this year (including goals for board participation). 
  • STEWARD: Look at your stewardship efforts with donors – can you do something extra this month to show appreciation for your donors (especially those brand-new donors)?
  • CELEBRATE: Be sure to acknowledge and celebrate your end of year accomplishments and early calendar year wins with your staff. 

Although I joke about that this blog post is your “pep talk,” don’t underestimate the winter blues.  You have the chance to motivate yourself, your team, and your board to start strong and make 2021 the most successful fundraising year yet!