Last updated January 13, 2015
We all have days when we need a little help to stay motivated. On these days there are usually plenty of things we could be doing, but for some reason we can’t think of a single one! Next time you feel like you’re just waiting for the day to pass, check out this list of 25 things you could do today. While they are all small, easy-to-do tasks, each one will set the wheels in motion for something bigger, and in turn they will bring real benefits to your organisation.
1. Write a thank you card to a long-time donor. Be sure to add a note about something personal to them, so that they feel like you take a genuine interest in them as a person – not just a cheque book. If you don’t have some thank you cards on hand, now is the day to start a ‘thank you’ box. Take a trip to the local bookstore and stock up on inexpensive thank you cards, or get creative and make some of your own using photographs of your programmes in action. If you have thank you cards on hand, you are more likely to send them on a regular basis.
2. Read through every page of your website, then update, refresh and revise as required. Make sure you check that all the links are still working and contact details are current.
3. Find out about non-profit networking groups in your area and register to attend one. It’s amazing what you can learn and how you can develop, simply by sharing with other people in a similar situation to your own. Your local Volunteer Centre or Social Service Council is a great place to start.
4. Send a press release to your local newspaper and radio station. If you don’t already have a contact in these places, phone them, introduce yourself, and arrange to take a journalist out for lunch. News rooms receive hundreds of press releases every day, so having a real relationship with a journalist can make all the difference.
5. Create a funding calendar to remind you (ahead of time) who you need to apply to and what you can apply for. If you don’t know what grants are available for your organisation or cause, you might want to subscribe to Tonic Magazine or Tonic Club.
6. Arrange to make a presentation about your organisation to a local service club. There are several service organisations operating in New Zealand including Lions, Rotary, Zonta, Soroptimist and The Round Table. Your Citizens Advice Bureau will have contact details for groups in your area.
7. Make an appointment to talk about your organisation with your local Member of Parliament. While they may not be able to offer personal assistance, chances are they know someone who can. Your Member of Parliament will be very well connected in your community, so make the most of their networks.
8. Upload some photographs to your organisations Facebook page. If you don’t have a Facebook page, make one today. Social Media is no longer ‘just for the young ones’, in fact, the fastest growing demographic on Facebook is people over 35. In New Zealand, 1.8 million people visit Facebook on a regular basis – that’s a lot of potential support just waiting to be tapped.
9. Phone one of your sponsors and ask if you can make a display in their reception area or store window. Don’t forget to leave a donation tin on the counter so that their customers can support your cause also.
10. Drop some brochures to your local health centre, library and Citizens Advice Bureau. Before you do, make sure they are completely up-to-date.
11. Find out about Community Awards in your region, and nominate yourself, your organisation or some of your volunteers. Not only is it a great way to celebrate your success, putting your organisation up for an award is a great way to increase your credibility. The Trustpower Community website is a great place to start: www.communityconnect.co.nz
12. Visit websites of other non-profits to see what they do well, and not-so-well. Don’t limit yourself to visiting websites of New Zealand non-profits only; compare your own website to like-minded organisations in other countries as well.
13. Set up a Linked-In profile: www.linkedin.com . Linked In is a great way to make professional connections, particularly if you work in a specialised field.
14. Read through your old newsletters and consider what needs changing next time around. Remember to ask yourself: What is the purpose of this newsletter? Are these just words on paper, or are they there for a reason? When you’ve finished revising, ask someone who has nothing to do with your organisation to take a look. It’s amazing the things you will have missed out because you assume everybody knows what you know.
15. Update your database. Get on the phone and ask if the details you have on hand are correct. Databases are only useful if they are accurate.
16. Clean out your filing tray. Either take action or toss the paper away.
17. Go through the stack of business cards on your desk and find a reason to make contact with every person. If you can’t remember where you met them or why you have their card, it’s time to start using a simple technique to help you remember. Next time you are given a business card, take 10 seconds to write on the back where you are, and what you have been talking about. This will help prompt you when it comes time to following up.
18. Take one of your volunteers out for lunch (or make a date to take them out next week). It doesn’t need to be somewhere expensive, but it does need to say ‘We genuinely appreciate you’.
19. Find out about your local Volunteer Centre: www.volunteeringnz.org.nz . Volunteer Centres can help match volunteers to specific roles within your organisation. Membership is very reasonable and they provide great support for organisations right across the sector.
20. Contact some of your service users or members and ask them to write a testimonial which you can use in promotional material. It’s one thing for you to tell potential donors how much of a difference your organisation makes – it’s another thing to hear it from those who truly benefit.
21. Make (or update) a Welcome Pack for new volunteers. Include things like contact details for other volunteers, a thank you card, vision and mission statements, policies they should be aware of, a name badge and a roster.
22. Phone the Chamber of Commerce to find out about business networking groups in your area. Business networking is a great way to meet potential sponsors, so make sure you register to attend the next event.
23. Check your membership form, and if it doesn’t have one already, add a line so that members can easily make an extra donation. Be sure to add a couple of specific amounts with details of what that amount could help your organisation achieve. (Of course always leave a blank space so they can gift even more if they choose.) Include your account number so people can make their payment online.
24. Set up a fundraising page on www.givealittle.co.nz . Add a line to your email signature to highlight specifically what you are fundraising for, and include a link that takes readers straight through to the fundraising page.
25. Find out about upcoming community events and ask if you can have a stall to promote your organisation. Better still, ask if you can be the ‘sponsored charity’ and wave a donation bucket as people enter the event.
Most of these activities don’t require any planning, they just require you to take action. Action breeds action, so once you get the ball rolling, there will be plenty of things you’ll be motivated to do.
If you think this article would be useful for your members, you are welcome to use it on your website or in your newsletter. We just ask that you let us know where it is being used, and that you acknowledge our website at the bottom of the article. If you are using the article online, please include a link to our homepage.