Should old fund – raising be forgot and never brought to mind?  Should old fund – raising be forgot and days of long, long ago?

For the sake of last year, my dear, for the sake of last year, We’ll take a new course for 2-thousand eleven, For auld lang syne.

We'll take a cup of kindness yet...

Not easy to fit modern day words into a Scottish folk song from the late 1700’s.  Hopefully you recognized that as a play on “Auld Lang Syne.” *

So why do I bring this up?  Because although it’s not quite New Years Eve, it is time to look ahead to 2011. Besides, using the song adds a bit of fun.

My four resolutions are topics, tactics, strategies, etc. I believe are important to nonprofits.  These are areas I’ll give the most attention to in 2011 as I strive to help nonprofits be more successful in their work.

Don’t be confused by my lyrics to Auld Lang Syne.  I don’t recommend anyone abandon what’s working.  I do recommend you drill down hard in these four areas, hone your skills, consider new tactics for executing these strategies, and don’t be afraid to test … test … test.

Here are my 4 resolutions for 2011 loosely based on more lyrics from all verses of the song:

1 – For “old time’s sake let’s share some kindness with your donors and members.”  Let’s crank up the cultivation.

Cultivation ranges from saying thank-you for a donation (or when someone joins your association) . . . to making it easy for visitors to use your website . . . to how every staff member talks to donors on the phone . . . to public speaking venues . . . and everything in between. 

Cultivation forms the basis of your relationships with supporters.  It nurtures and strengthens the relationship.  And done correctly it helps you find more supporters.

This is also an area where I’ll continue to encourage nonprofits to incorporate mobile technology.  Mobile is ideal for nonprofits and for cultivation.

Therefore, I’ll share all I know in order to help you cultivate with kindness.

2 – “And here’s a hand my trusty friend, to improve thine website.”

Far, far, far too many charity and membership association websites are still missing the markWebsite usability and messaging are muddled. 

Your website is the foundation of your marketing success.  And since everything you do is marketing, well . . . you see how important your website is to raising funds, acquiring members, retention, cultivation, awareness, growth, and so on.

Therefore, be ready to give your website a makeover.  Relax.  For most of you this doesn’t mean an expensive re-design!

3 – “But seas between us wide have been, from copy not for me.”

Writing copy that’s centered on the donor or member is quite a challenge for nonprofit pros.  I draw that conclusion from the direct mail letters, emails, web copy, Facebook articles, tweets, press releases, pay-per-click ads, and other nonprofit messages I see.

There’s quite a gap (as wide as the sea) between the messages that resonate with donors and members, versus what is written.  Also, writing this style of copy makes it more likely you’ll connect with the right donor (although copy isn’t the only variable in the equation).  It’s NOT a numbers game anymore.  Today’s market and economics demand you target more of the “best” donors as opposed to anyone breathing.

Therefore I shall – with renewed vigor – endeavor to help nonprofit pros acquire this skill.

4 – “But we’ve wandered about the marketing channels, and failed to integrate.”

Break down the silos.  Integrate your marketing and fundraising with “branded” messages that are unique to each channel. 

Why is this essential for every nonprofit – regardless of size – to do?  Because donors and members don’t limit themselves to one channel.  And everywhere they interact with you they expect value.  Also, engaging supporters across multiple channels strengthens their bond to your nonprofit, and increases their life-time value.

Therefore I’ll continue – with greater gusto – to share ideas on integrating your messages successfully for enhanced marketing and fundraising results.

Those are my four resolutions for 2011.  Thank you for reading my blog in 2010, and let’s not forget our old acquaintance.  Let’s share a toast and charge into the New Year with enthusiasm.  Together we can make 2011 a great year for you and your nonprofit!

* Footnote: By the way, in case you’re interested the first verse and chorus of the song, “Auld Lang Syne” translates into: “Should old acquaintance be forgotten, and never remembered? Should old acquaintance be forgotten, for old long ago?  We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet, For old long ago.”  And my resolutions are based on words from all four verses of the song.

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