Brian Tucker, BDI Vice President, Client Strategy

QUICK SHOT: 4 Things You Can Do to Start 2023 Fundraising Off Right!

Check off these action items now for marketing success

By Brian Tucker, Senior Director of Client Strategy and Planning

January is often a time of recovery and reflection for nonprofits. Your gift processing is (hopefully) caught up, you’ve hit your year-end fundraising goals and it’s time for some well needed rest!

Well… I don’t want to ruin the party but there are a few things you should do immediately in January to set yourself up for fundraising success in 2023. So don’t put these action items off any longer!

Evaluate your donation platform

Changing donation platforms is like changing banks. It’s cumbersome and painful, but it could be one of the easiest ways to increase revenue in the new year.

BDI’s Digital Team recently evaluated the top 5 most used donation platforms across all of our client partners. When we looked at conversion rates, the difference was striking.

The best donation platform delivered a 30% better conversion rate over the worst. 

🚨 30% Better Conversion! 🚨

If you are looking to convince your finance or leadership team that changing donation platforms is worth the trouble, just run the numbers. 

Let’s assume you process $10,000 in gifts on average per month. To be safe, let’s assume a new donation platform provides a 20% better conversion rate:

$10,000 x 20% = $2,000 improvement per month, or $24,000 over a year. Not a bad return for some short-term pain… especially considering the impact on fundraising success in 2023!

Take a deep dive into your donor restriction flags

You probably took a look at your donor restriction flags going into fall acquisition – those tags placed on certain addresses that tell you who to take out of your mailings. But you’ve also received a swell of new donors near the end of the year, as well as a few complaints that resulted in them being flagged.

Over my 21+ years in the industry, one of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen organizations of all sizes make is putting “no mail” or “no contact” flags on donors too liberally.

Sometimes a donor is receiving too much mail and when they reach out they are angry. It’s tempting to just put a “no mail” flag on all communications, but often these donors are OK with receiving at least a newsletter, or a few appeals a year. 

It may be worth one last communication via mail or email to see if you can save the relationship.

Also, evaluate your flags in general. Do they all need to exist? Does everyone know what they mean? I once had a client who went through this process and increased their donor file by 20% overnight. Better yet, those donors performed as well or better than the current active file!

Evaluate your email platform 

Are you happy with your email provider? Even more importantly, is it performing well for you? Using the right email platform can have a direct impact on your fundraising success in 2023.

So many privacy changes have occurred over the last 2 years (and only more are coming). That means that open rates continue to be an inaccurate metric for performance. Instead, evaluate things like:

  • Deliverability: Are your emails being delivered and making it into the inbox and not the spam filter?
  • Mobile optimization: Do images stack well? Are your communications easily read on a smartphone, tablet or other mobile device? If the templates you are using now are not mobile friendly and are not easily adapted, it’s time to look elsewhere.
  • CRM integration: Does it work with your tech stack or require a ton of manual processing?
  • List management: Is it easy to segment, test and target your sends? Or are you still “batching and blasting” to everyone?

Lastly, make sure your chosen platform is well supported and widely adopted. Even the easiest platforms to use will require some expert help from time to time. By using a platform that is widely adopted, you will also gain the benefit of several built-in integrations and 3rd party tools.

Get your budget wish list together

Depending on your fiscal year, you may have just approved your budget or you are going to over the next 3-6 months.

Instead of keeping the status quo, plan for strategic investment opportunities. You may already have a price tag on what you want to do, and if so that’s great!

But if not, try to set aside 2% of your budget to be nimble. You are going to have something come up that is out of the budget cycle, and you don’t want to delay the initiative for another year.

As you seek out fundraising success in 2023, I hope this year is already off to a great start for your ministry! If you haven’t yet, please also check out my colleague Stephanie Tippitt’s post on other digital tips and must-have strategies for the new year.

If you have other questions or ideas to share, I’d love to hear from you at

Check out last week’s Quick Shot – Top 5 Nonprofit Fundraising Articles in 2022

  • Brian Tucker

    Brian Tucker, Vice President, Client Strategy

    Brian brings to BDI over 21 years of experience in nonprofit fundraising and marketing. For much of his career, Brian built his expertise in agencies specializing in nonprofit development and fundraising strategy – but he also has experience on the client side, having spent five years at World Vision, an experience that solidified his passion for serving the poor and vulnerable. He’s been a past speaker at AMA Nonprofit Conferences and was a contributing author to Andrew Olsen’s book, 101 Mistakes Nonprofits Make, and How You Can Avoid Them

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