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Moving Forward

We are coming to the end of a year we will never forget. It has brought more challenges and hardship than we ever could have predicted. And at the same time, it has taught us so much about ourselves, our communities and our organizations! It’s time to take a deep breath – WE MADE IT!

Our BDI Thought Leader team wants to encourage your organization to use the lessons learned in 2020 to step forward with boldness into the exciting unknown of 2021. Here are some of BDI’s key tips that we hope you can use when stepping forward into the new year.

Phil Stolberg, Chief Operations Officer

Face the adventure of new hurdles in 2021

Without question and ad nauseam, we have been reminded that 2020 is confusing, disruptive, uncertain, traumatic, frightening. True, 2020 has been all this and more. But this year has also proven that people in the nonprofit sector are innovative, resilient and capable of embracing dramatic change. We have successfully overcome seemingly overwhelming hurdles.

So now, with confidence, face the adventure of new hurdles; do not allow the “2020 status quo” to hold you back. Be willing to set new goals, explore ideas and test new strategies.

With gusto, embrace C.S. Lewis’s challenge: “You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.”

Shellie Speer, Senior VP Brewer Academy

Be up-to-date and adaptable in your crisis messaging

For better or worse, the last eight months have changed all of us. Looking back we can see that the knowledge we gained about resilience, unity and grace will hopefully be with us for the rest of our lives. Moving forward, we need to target any weaknesses and deficiencies that this year has exposed in our businesses and focus on long-term improvement. Continue to be prepared by being agile, adaptable and quick responders to changing events.

Make sure your key messages are up-to-date, your crisis management plan is complete, and that your entire team is ready to make the necessary changes to reduce the potential for mishaps. Keep fighting the good fight!

The fall also offers a great opportunity to show some extra love to donors with a “just because” affirmation call in a season filled with messages of thanksgiving and goodwill. No need to wait until they give a gift to thank them! Search your database for donors who gave in 2019 but have not yet given in 2020. This is a wonderful time of year to implement a lapse-prevention strategy. Call these folks to thank them for their past support and share how much they are appreciated at the Mission.

Stephanie Tippitt, VP Digital Strategy and Optimization

Be quick to pivot your digital campaign strategies

The biggest takeaway from 2020 is: be ready to pivot. We’ve seen the digital space explode and are likely to see the same moving forward. Now’s the time to fully embrace digital as a significant part of your fundraising program and use it as a quick way to alter your campaign strategies. Here are some easy tips to boldly lean-in and incorporate change into your fundraising program:

  • Review your upcoming campaigns. If you have pre-planned digital campaigns, review them before the launch, confirming the message is in step with the times. A slight shift in the message can make a BIG increase in results.
  • Test new digital channels and creative approaches. Pre-roll Video ads, Native display, Paid Facebook/Instagram ads – all hold opportunities for non-profit organizations.
  • Embrace AI, it’s here to stay. It is a powerful tool in digital media channels to find potential donors who are interested in your cause.

Matt Sommer, VP Creative Director

Use this year’s experience to face new opportunities

2020 reminds me of an experience I had many years ago on a visit to the Pacific Ocean in El Salvador. Being a flatlander from Ohio, I’d never been to the ocean before, so the waves were HUGE – some 10 to 12 feet. I ran out and was immediately blasted by a wave that drove me under and down into the ocean floor. I barely made it up to the surface when another wave came, pummeling me again. Then another. And another.

After watching my ordeal, a local man showed me how to dive under the waves, get to the side of the swell, time the break and ride them in. What fun! Suddenly the energy that was so frightening and awful became a source of exhilaration.

The battering waves of 2020 have seemed like an endless ordeal – wave after wave – crashing in. But new approaches emerged. New ways to dive under the tumult and actually go with the energy of the moment. We don’t know what’s coming in 2021. But let’s be eager to overcome the waves and ride them to new moments of opportunity and joy.

Angella Hubbert, Director of Data Management

Adopt an ever-evolving, high-touch communication plan

The key to success in these changing times is having a flexible and ever-evolving communication plan within your organization. This year has shown us the value of being vigilant with data and having high trust and partnerships with clients.

Having intentional conversations with staff and clients will allow you to properly select effective campaigns that communicate accurately with best practices and industry recommendations for nonprofit fundraising. Looking forward into 2021, now is the time to ask questions, listen, and give trusted expert advice. That is what our partnership looks like in Data Services and how we will continue to be clients’ data advocates!

Anna Wooton, Controller

Consider transferring your finances to an online database

When our office was moved to a fully-remote working environment, we faced the challenge of digitizing our accounting processes and the way we access financial information. Despite the new waters that we had to navigate with safe remote access and a virtual private network, online accounting and finance management brought us several advantages.

When paying staff or vendors, automatic payments allowed for faster, safer and trackable deposits that contain less errors. Going paperless reduced the cost of printing products, and minimized the need to store records that carry sensitive information.

All in all, your organization may benefit by making this switch. And as digital integration continues to increase, now may be the perfect time.

McKennah Williams, HR Manager

Develop a connected and trustworthy company culture

If 2020 has shown me anything about HR, it’s that employee wellbeing and company success is intertwined. Developing a culture where employees feel connected to their teams, trusted to accomplish great things and passionate about their work isn’t simple. It takes intention and commitment. Here are some tips to help maintain a connected company culture moving forward.

  • Communicate goals and celebrate success. Remind employees of goals, and thank them for a job well done. This makes them feel valued and motivated to continue doing great work.
  • Touch base weekly. One-on-one time with staff is a great way to build trust and connections with your team members. Take the time to connect weekly in person or on video. This will go a long way in maintaining a healthy and engaged staff.
  • Lastly, create opportunities for comradery and fun! Since we’ve been working remotely this year, we created a virtual “breakroom” with games, contests and virtual hangouts. This might be a great way for your employees to connect and build trust.

We hope these takeaways from BDI Thought Leaders can help and encourage your organization to lean forward and embrace new adventures in 2021. We are here for you, ready to boldly step forward into the new year…together!

Want more? For this month’s “Need to Read” from MT on Faithful people “Show Up” big time when it matters most, click here.

Check out last month’s feature article from BDI CEO and President Michael J. Tomlinson >>

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