Summer tends to be slow at a lot of nonprofits – your organization is most likely wrapping up the fiscal year, staff are taking those much-needed vacations, and slowly but surely everyone is prepping for the next year of programming.
But just because things are slow doesn’t mean it’s time to be lazy! Summer is a great time to catch up on all of those little tasks that you’ve been meaning to do but have never found time for. During the busier times of the year, some nonprofits might even compile a working list of things they want to do during these slow times. Here are some suggestions for how to spend your summer.
1. Clean up your data
Over time, your CRM or database can get messy – duplicate accounts are created, names are misspelled, etc. Of course, messy data is unreliable data. This is a great time to make sure everything is nice and clean. Some suggestions:
- Many CRM databases have a duplicate record finder feature that you can use to scan for potential duplicate records. Use this feature to find and merge duplicates quickly and easily.
- Create reports and queries so that you can view all of your data in one place and easily look for missing or incorrect information in an onscreen or Excel spreadsheet format.
2. Update your data
You know that giant stack of business cards sitting on your desk? What about those emails from board members with new prospects or new contact information? How about those meeting notes from your executive director that need to get into your CRM database so you can organize them and pull them later? Now’s the time to enter and clean up all of that information into your database CRM, so you can make sure that everyone gets your direct mailings and emails come annual appeal time.
3. Set up your CRM database for your new fiscal year and any scheduled events
Summer is a great time to set up your CRM database to help you meet all of your goals for the new fiscal year. Some possible tasks:
- Add new campaigns, funds, and other fundraising tracking data as needed.
- Set up new saved or auto reports that will help you better track your year-to-date results.
- Set up next year’s events in your CRM system, or your event management software (if separate from your main CRM). That way, your organization and staff don’t have to worry about setting them up when you’re in “frantic event planning mode.”
4. Rewrite your standard emails and letters
Many fundraisers simply don’t have the time to write exciting new acknowledgement letters every month or quarter, but these letters are a great way to give brief highlights of what your organization has done over the last few months. This summer, take a look at your automated emails and donation thank you letters and update them with some new language about the great work that your organization is doing. Believe it or not, donors notice – and like – when these letters change.
5. Write a guide to your database
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – policies and procedures are critical to maintaining a clean and useful database. Write an internal guide that is specific to your organization. Your guide could include:
- Established timelines and workflows for data entry
- Methods for tracking fiscal year donations
- Policies for entering new records
These simple steps will help you feel fresh and prepped for Fall fundraising season. Happy summer!