6 New Year’s Resolutions for Nonprofits for 2021

Let’s just say it; we are all looking forward to a new year. 2020 was the year of quick transitions and pivots throughout the nonprofit sector (and the world). But now that we are ramping up for 2021.

With the fresh start that a new year brings, it is the perfect time to step back and reevaluate your big picture. We’ve included six resolutions we think every nonprofit should make for 2021:

Resolution #1: Clean up your database

You deserve to take some time to wrap-up everything after year-end giving season and all the chaotic twists and turns of 2020. It’s time to get organized and tie up all the loose ends in your database — so you can start 2021 with a clean slate.

We all know that better data means better fundraising, so the beginning of the year is a great time to make sure everything in your system is accurate. You want to turn your database into a fundraising machine, and doing the work up front will make your job easier.

In addition to processing and following-up on any miscellaneous transactions that have yet to be entered into your system, here are a few other things you might consider doing to start your year off right:

  • Make sure all records are complete. Fill in any missing info, including salutations and any other fields that could be considered “optional.”
  • Scan gifts to ensure that everything has been recorded properly. This will help in your reporting and visualizing your performance for the past year.
  • Start the year off fresh with an NCOA update, if you haven’t done one recently.
  • Consider other options that can enhance your data, like matching gift info or prospect research.

Your technology should work with you, not against you. Clean data gives your organization actionable information to develop deeper relationships with donors, increase ROI, and further your mission.

Takeaway: A clean database will provide the best foundation for lasting success throughout the year. A few hours spent cleaning everything up in January can save you a lot of stress throughout Q1.

Resolution #2: Put your data to good use

After cleaning up all that data, you’ll want to make sure you put it to good use — all year long!

There’s a wealth of information available to you in your nonprofit’s database: donors, donations, events, communications, and much more. Use the data you already have to help inform your decisions throughout the entire year.

Go beyond just scanning donation history before reaching out to a donor. You can use the data in your system for a wide variety of uses. For example, before you send an email campaign, take a close look at your past statistics. What subject lines saw the best open rates? Was there one call-to-action that performed better than expected? Use this data from the past to help you craft your message and improve your present performance.


Think outside of the box about how you can use data to make a greater impact — your ideas might surprise you!

Takeaway: Look over past statistics to see where you can experiment with your data. Take note of all positive trends, and see where you can implement them in your 2021 strategy.

Resolution #3: Commit To Retention

As we all know, the nonprofit sector is experiencing a donor retention crisis. More than half of all donors will not go on to donate again.

We have to do better.

This year, the sector needs to commit to improving retention in whatever ways it can. Essentially, this means a greater dedication to donors and treating each donor with the respect and appreciation they deserve.

Many nonprofit experts have different ideas on how to achieve this. Choose a plan that works for your nonprofit — and if you’re unsure, at least do something. A small step in the right direction can make a big difference.

One suggestion that could be applied to almost any nonprofit is to revamp your annual fund campaign (or start developing one if you haven’t done so yet!). Because it’s an extended effort that focuses primarily on donor stewardship and relationship-building, it’s the perfect opportunity for your organization to grow your donor retention rates.

If you’re looking to take a smaller step, here are some suggestions and ideas that might work for your nonprofit:

  • Automate confirmation and thank you emails for prompt responses
  • Include stats and stories that illustrate the impact of a donation in all of your thank you materials
  • Segment communication lists to encourage more personalized messaging
  • When you thank donors, ask them why they donated and where their interests lie
  • Don’t make every interaction an appeal — reach out to donors just to say hi or thanks

There are several steps you can take to encourage retention. Pick some options that are realistic and fit well with your nonprofit’s communications strategy.

And remember that retention isn’t only about donors — volunteer retention is an important strategy for any nonprofit. And with volunteering at its lowest point in 10 years, it’s something that your nonprofit will have to work at in 2021.

Takeaway: Your donor retention strategy can’t be an afterthought. Stewardship should be an intentional, planned part of your fundraising strategy in 2021.

Resolution #4: Optimize Your Giving Experience

There’s no time like the present to optimize your donation page. Put yourself in the shoes of a donor and donate to your own nonprofit. See what it’s like to go through the entire donation process, noting any takeaways that surprised you.

It may also be helpful to enlist a friend, family member, or new employee who has not donated to your organization. Depending on their familiarity with your organization, they may bring a more objective perspective to the table. A fresh set of eyes can help you determine what’s resonating with donors and what may be going over their heads.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • Is it easy to find the donation form on your website?
  • How long is your donation form? Are there any fields you can take out?
  • Do you include matching gift prompts on your form?
  • How long did it take to get a confirmation message or a thank you message?
  • Did anything about the messages stick out to you?
  • Do you think you would give again? Why?

Once you’ve completed the process, share your insights with others, and make adjustments to improve the giving experience. And when in doubt, listen to your donors — ask them what they like and dislike about the giving experience.

Takeaway: In 2021, nothing matters more than donor experience. Go beyond putting yourself in your donor’s shoes by asking for direct feedback from your supporters.

Resolution #5: Make Your Website Mobile-friendly

There are thousands of statistics we could list to illustrate the importance of a mobile-friendly website. Study after study has shown that mobile-friendly websites are more effective, impactful, and trustworthy than other websites.

Don’t believe us? Check out these statistics:

  • More than half of all internet traffic is on mobile devices
  • Google now shows mobile-friendly sites above mobile-unfriendly sites in search results
  • Nearly 10 percent of online donations are lost due to poorly designed nonprofit websites

So yes, having a mobile-friendly website is essential. And, if anything, it will get more and more important in 2021.

That’s why we started Neon Web Studio, a full-service web design agency for nonprofits. All the websites we design are responsive, meaning they adjust to all screen sizes. Whether someone is viewing your website on a phone, tablet, or desktop, they’ll be able to engage with your website.

If you aren’t looking for a custom design, many services provide affordable template-based designs that are mobile-friendly. Look specifically for a responsive design, or your donations, search results, and credibility may suffer.

And if you need a little guidance, make sure to check out our list of top nonprofit web design tips, which will help you ensure that your website is as impactful as possible!

Takeaway: If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, that should be your top priority in 2021.

Resolution #6: Make Time For Professional Development

And last but not least, take some time for your (professional) self! There are an overwhelming amount of conferences, workshops, consulting, e-books, and other resources available for nonprofit employees. Make an effort to put aside some time and funds to improve your skills in a certain area this year.

We recommend identifying at least one area or skill that you’d like to focus on. Then do your research to identify resources available. It may be something you can learn from reading an ebook, or it may be a topic you’d like to attend at a conference or workshop. If it’s a system-specific skill, check with your service provider or a certified consultant for any training they offer.

Takeaway: When you invest in professional development, you also invest in your organization.

Best wishes from all of us at Neon for a happy and healthy 2021! What’s on your resolution list for your nonprofit?


Link to Original Source

Related posts

The team at 94.9 KLTY has served the Dallas/Fort Worth community for over 35 years. In 2020, the need was never greater. Through their local campaigns, Christmas Wish and Speak Love, they were able to assist many families who were impacted by not only the pandemic, but by hard times in general. The Speak Lovecampaign helped first responders, teachers, servers, food service staff, and many more within the community throughout the year. In 2020 94.9 KLTY’s Christmas Wish campaign brought Christmas joy to hundreds of families in the DFW area. They provided vehicles, food, toys, and other forms of relief to families in their community. They could not have reached any of these needs if not for their listeners and their generous donations to 94.9 KLTY’s nonprofit programs. In total, Speak Love and Christmas Wish raised more than $160,000 for those in need in Dallas/Fort Worth. They also recognized those sacrificial front-line workers and first responders who keep our community safe. Each week, 94.9 KLTY honored them, raised funds throughout the summer, and then presented each first responder with a check as a token of their gratitude. With countless families in need because of the pandemic, 94.9 KLTY also helped the Tarrant Area Food Bank distribute food essentials on multiple occasions in September, October, November. It is 94.9 KLTY’s sincere honor to serve our listeners in Dallas/Fort Worth.


LIFE 96.5 seeks to empower and serve the Sioux Falls area by reaching out in faith to help make it a better place to live and work. They want to lead their listeners to Jesus and help them grow in their faith through opportunities to love and serve others. In January 2020, LIFE 96.5 listeners donated over 950 brand new baby items during the Sioux Empire’s Largest Baby Shower. The Baby Shower grows every year, demonstrating their community’s love and support of the couples who are choosing life for their unborn children. LIFE 96.5 listeners, in partnership with Dacotah Bank, provided gift cards and cash donations to the Sioux Falls School District social workers to meet the needs of 1,000 homeless students. LIFE 96.5 also invited listeners to participate in a city-wide prayer parade, where they prayed for health care and government officials while driving past hospitals, schools, and city government offices. During the months of September and October 2020, LIFE 96.5 listeners provided over 250 twin sheet sets and 100 mattresses to the Sioux Falls Sleep in Heavenly Peace organization for children who are sleeping on floors. Through LIFE 96.5, listeners also made a difference in the lives of patients spending Christmas at Avera Behavioral Health Hospital. Each patient received a Christmas stocking filled with gifts and a note of encouragement. In addition, each Saturday morning LIFE 96.5 staff host Life Connection, a program featuring community leaders and discussing the needs and concerns of the Sioux Falls Community.


89.5 KVNE exists to glorify God by encouraging people, connecting their community, and pointing people to Jesus Christ. When their community was turned upside down by COVID, they knew they had to jump into action and mobilize their listeners to make a difference for Christ. To best serve their local community, KVNE held multiple drives to support local ministry partners and those most impacted by the pandemic. They collected 1,500 gift cards (totaling more than $15,000) to benefit those in need because of shutdowns, gathered over 12,000 diapers for foster families, and collected 150 care packages for senior citizens. They also collected 1,032 fans for the Salvation Army and over 1,000 pairs of shoes for kids heading back to school. Additionally, listeners donated 1,512 care packages for the homeless in East Texas, and KVNE hosted two blood drives to help those fighting the coronavirus. People across East Texas needed connection during the pandemic, so they organized a social media outreach, called Praise Defeats, a coordinated time where listeners shot videos of themselves singing “Raise A Hallelujah.” The videos were shared thousands of times, as they deepened their community’s connection. In addition, KVNE launched a Hispanic Christian music station (Fuzión), started a worship station (Lift Worship), and began a Bible Teaching Station (The Well) – all to help people grow in their faith. God allowed them to impact His Kingdom in profound ways and serve their local community powerfully during an unprecedented time when people needed hope like never before.


Since 1986, The JOY FM has made community service a hallmark of its ministry to listeners – first in Sarasota, and then expanding to Tampa, other Florida markets, and most recently to Atlanta and Middle Georgia. Even with this growth, community outreach remains hands-on, with legacy events like T-Shirts for Turkeys, which helped feed more than 28,700 families in all markets served last year. 2020 created new challenges for serving, so The JOY FM innovated several service projects to accommodate contactless delivery and social distancing. JOY Drop and Restock, a brand-new outreach, collected 30 tons of food to restock local food banks hit hard by the pandemic. Partnering with Natalie Grant and Hope for Justice, Team Freedom approached a grand total of $1,000,000 in 2020 to fight human trafficking. As listeners faced political rhetoric and serious questions about race and justice, as well as practical challenges like hybrid classrooms, The JOY FM programming (on terrestrial signals, as well as its LF Radio and JOY Worship platforms) responded with a recommitment to our mission of “Helping You Find JOY.” Resources for listeners, such as the Off Air with Carmen podcast, was provided to help listeners wrestle with big questions like Christian citizenship. Possibly The JOY FM’s most relevant community service effort for 2020 was prayer. The JOY FM’s Prayer and Crisis Referral service interacted with 620,936 listeners in need of prayer or help. Of those calls and texts, 4,949 listeners reported praying to place their faith in Jesus Christ.


“Hope Starts Here” is more than The Light FM’s tagline. It’s their mission. In 2020, they were intentional in regularly offering community-needed resources and hope-filled encouragement. They hosted their 5th annual Make a Difference training to encourage listeners to share God’s hope and saw 14 people begin a personal relationship with Jesus. The Light FM also visited eight local Law Enforcement agencies to share words of encouragement and care baskets. They partnered with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital and artists of Winter Jam for a private concert and time of prayer with families battling pediatric cancer. The Light FM listeners from five different cities donated 258 wheelchairs, 262 crutches, 259 walkers, 71 transport chairs, and 66 canes to Wheels for the World, which brings mobility and the hope of Christ around the world. During stay-at-home orders, The Light FM began offering free monthly virtual events, including: a graduation ceremony, featuring artists and Bible teachers; a conference with Crown Financial on how to manage finances during the pandemic; Girl Talk LIVE, a women’s event with worship and Bible study; God’s Hope in Crisis training with chaplains of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team; a pastor appreciation event for local churches, featuring Chip Ingram and Matthew West; and a Family Christmas Night with live music, games, and a devotion from The Light FM staff. Even throughout the pandemic, The Light FM also found ways to be out in the public, safely, with six drive-in events featuring movies and live music.


2021 Membership Exclusives

January – Your 2021 Radio Goals – Virtual Event
March – Radio Station Field Trip
April – A Webinar for YOUR Board
May – Virtual Mentoring Event
June – SURPRISE BENEFIT at Momentum
July – Salary Survey Webinar
August – Fundraising Webinar
September – Creative Images
October – Techsurvey Webinar
November – Radio Station Field Trip
December – Virtual Christmas Party

*subject to change


Paul Cameron began his career in radio prior to graduating from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in 1980, starting his first job in 1979 as part-time on-air talent at WMKC 96.7FM (an adult contemporary station). In 1980 Paul moved to part-time on-air talent for WHBY-AM 1230 (a news/talk station), and while still working there, began working part-time for WEMI 100.1FM. In 1981, he went full-time for WEMI and over the years served as program director, music director, station manager, and director of radio operations. In 2002 he assumed the role of executive director and general manager for Christian Family Radio, now known as The Family Radio Network. Since 2016 Paul has been chief operating officer and afternoon on-air host. He was part of the transition from one full power station to five full power stations and six translators, all in Wisconsin. Paul has given back to his community by serving on several local boards in various capacities, including The Emergency Shelter of Appleton, The Community Clothes Closet of Menasha, and Loaves and Fishes of the Fox Valley. He also serves on the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Board of Directors and has been a fundraiser host with ShareMedia/Dunham+Company since 2002.


Rob Dempsey has been serving the HIS Radio Network listeners faithfully since 2000, currently working as operations manager and morning show co-host on the HIS Morning Crew with Rob & Lizz. Rob worked as a security guard at television studios for the Home Shopping Network before he was called into the radio ministry. Now, Rob’s personal stories of overcoming obstacles, walking through a long journey to health, and stepping out in faith and selflessness inspire his listeners. Some know him as the guy who lost 140 pounds to overcome obesity, others know him as the 16-year-old kid kicked out of his home to live in the streets, and others know him as being a foster and adoptive parent. Rob and his wife’s kids range from a 34-year-old war hero, 25-year-old social media marketing specialist, 19-year-old honors college student, a 12-year-old they adopted in November 2009, as well as many foster children throughout the last 9 years. Recently, Rob has been on a health journey which included two surgeries, one a major reconstructive surgery. These past two years have been a challenge for Rob, but he continues to show that through God, anyone can become an overcomer.


Since 1989, Mike Harper has faithfully impacted East Texas on-the-air at 89.5 KVNE, where he serves as VP Communications and morning show host. He began as a volunteer weekend DJ, driving from 90 miles away. Mike advanced the cause of Christian radio by serving several years on the steering committee for CMB, and he has taken part in every NCRS/CMB since 1999. According to Nielsen, Mike and Carrie in the Morning has been the #1 Morning Show for a decade (#1 Persons 12+) propelling KVNE as high as an 8.3 share and helping KVNE become the #1 rated station in the Tyler/Longview market. During that time, KVNE won 8 Station of the Year Awards (CMB & NRB). Additionally, Mike and his co-host Carrie Parsons have been awarded “Best Morning Show in East Texas” for 9 years in a row. Mike has shaved his head to reach a pledge drive goal, donned white tights and a cape “for the children,” and stood on top of a building during a remote broadcast. He has daily arrived faithfully at 5:00 am and braved ice, snow, hail, and tornados in an effort to keep his listeners safe, encourage them, and point them to Jesus.


Bryan O’Neal has spent a lifetime entertaining, encouraging, and spreading God’s love to millions over the airwaves, landing his first radio job in 1972 in mainstream Top 40 radio. In 1978 Bryan hosted and produced Portland’s first CCM’s 30-minute radio show on Top 40 62-KGW. He then teamed up with his good friend Bob Anthony to plan a full-time CCM station in Santa Rosa. Eventually that station became K-LOVE. After K-LOVE moved to Sacramento, Bryan became their full-time employee #13 in 1994. In 1998 Bryan worked as the program director for another CCM station, KPAM/Pamplin Media. In 2001 Bryan teamed up once again with Bob Anthony at EMF’s Air1. Bryan was instrumental in moving Air1’s entire Portland staff to the new building in Rocklin, where he worked as operations director and then program director. In 2005 Bryan worked a short stint at KTSL in Spokane, and then became the music director and afternoon host at 89.7 KSGN in Redlands, California. Bryan O’Neal has worked as the program director at KSGN and co-host with Brandi Lanai for nearly 10 years of Bryan and Brandi in the Morning. Bryan hung up his headphones for retirement in March of 2021.


Bill Scott is one of the founders of Vidare Creative, a fundraising consulting company which helps Christian radio stations, through their 365 plan concept, raise the funds they need to grow. Bill has been a part of Christian radio for 39 years. He’s worked at WCIE, The JOY FM, and WAY FM as a production director, on-air talent, program director, and station manager. Bill co-hosted Dawson McCallister Live, which aired on 500 radio stations each weekend. Bill began ZJAM, a syndicated show that aired on 350 stations in the USA, Canada, the UK, and Guatemala each weekend. Bill’s latest show was Xtreme Talk Live, airing each Sunday night on over 200 radio stations. Bill has hosted 700 fundraisers on Christian radio in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Bill also runs Men of Radio, a Facebook group with over 600 men from Christian radio. For the past three years, he has hosted the Men of Radio Winter Retreat in McCall, Idaho, with the focus of getting to know other men on Christian radio so they can walk through life together. Bill Scott believes passionately in Christian radio, and he has dedicated his life to see it grow.