With spring right around the corner, this is the usual time that folks look at doing some spring cleaning at home and in the office. And as a fundraiser, you can do your own version of spring cleaning.

First, for some of us, Covid vaccines mean that we may be returning to offices in some manner sometime in the near future. It may be a good idea, if safety protocols are followed of course, to get back into your office space and do some organizing and, yes, cleaning. Or, if you are planning to remain in a remote work situation, focus your attention on your remote work space instead.

Having a cluttered workspace can lead to a negative impact on your stress and anxiety levels and ability to focus. According to Psychology Today, having clutter around you is distracting, makes it difficult to relax and creates feelings of guilt. De-cluttering and organizing doesn’t just apply to your desk or actual workspace, however – you also should take a look at your digital clutter. Do you have old files on your computer that are just taking up space? Do you have too many emails in your inbox? Take some time and really focus on what you need and don’t need anymore.

Once you have cleaned up your surroundings, use the advent of spring as an excuse to take a fresh look at your office structure, board activities and other fundraising activities. Consider the following to be good protocols each spring:

Audit your current structure

  • Is staffing where it needs to be? Are you over or under-staffed in any areas?
  • Are you maximizing everyone’s role and are staff members prioritizing the right things?
  • Leading into budget season, this is a great opportunity to examine your team and make sure you are where you need to be

Audit your Board

  • Work with your board chair or governance committee to review each board member’s performance according to your Statement of Commitment (and you should be using a Statement of Commitment)
  • Consider a spring-time board retreat, virtually for now but in-person in non-Covid times to re-energize and re-focus your board on your priorities

Clean out your prospect list

  • Spring is a perfect time to look closely at your prospect list and ensure that you are looking critically at each individual. It might be time to move some names off of your list and to make space for new prospects.
  • Consider doing a yearly spring screening of your prospects to see if anything has changed and to discover new prioritized individuals.

Clean up your database

  • Everyone knows that this is typically an on-going process for most non-profits. But use spring as a time to really pay attention to the state of your database.
  • Consider doing a NCOA (National Change of Address) screening, a service offered by the U.S. Postal Service.
  • This might be a great time to institute data entry rules for your organization. Come up with set protocols on how to enter information (think about things like abbreviations, apartment numbers, how phone numbers are entered, formal names vs nicknames)
  • Delete names of unengaged or inactive contacts. Come up with a time frame that you feel is safe to consider a constituent unengaged – maybe 3 years, maybe 5 years, depending upon your organization. You can keep these names in a spreadsheet elsewhere but save your database for active constituents. Note: this doesn’t apply to past donors, just prospects or constituents that have never given.