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Evaluate the impact of elections on your organization

By Alyce Lee Stansbury, CFRE, Notes on Nonprofits

With the mid-term elections behind us, now is a good time for nonprofit leaders to evaluate how the election results will impact your organization and connect with newly elected officials. Here are a few suggestions to consider.

Review your strategic plan

Determine if any goals, strategies, or tactics need to be added or revised in light of election results. Make time at an upcoming board meeting to discuss these issues and reach consensus on any current or future actions.

Educate them about who you serve and the value your organization brings to the community. Let them know how many people you employ and how your organization contributes to economic vitality.

Ask about their priorities and any special projects that are important to them. Give them an opportunity to ask questions about your programs, scope of services, and challenges you are facing. Look for shared goals, ways to work together for mutual benefit, and then stay in touch.

Welcome new staff members

As newly elected officials settle into their positions, they bring new staff members and ways of doing things. Get to know their staff who keep the wheels on the bus and the process working. Do not overlook them in your outreach efforts.

Say thank you

Thank people who are leaving elected office for their service. Invite them to be part of your organization in a way that is meaningful to them. Some may consider board service now that they are no longer serving in public office. Give them some time to recuperate from the election and then reach out.

Ask for remaining campaign funds

If your organization has an existing relationship with an elected official, they may consider donating any remaining campaign funds to your nonprofit. Identify the best way to reach based on their interest in your mission and trust in the leadership of your organization.

Make team building a priority

The run-up to the election has been stressful, overwhelming, and at times, ugly.  This may have created tensions or divisions within your staff and board. Now is a good time to rally the team around your mission which is something everyone can agree on.

Launch year-end giving efforts

Election season can sometimes make fundraising for charitable causes especially difficult. With the campaigns complete, now is the time to spotlight the important work you do. 30% of all charitable gifts are made during the month of December so now is the time to ask.

Be sensitive when asking

New data shows 32% of Americans are struggling to pay their bills. At the same time, many nonprofits are facing greater demands for services amid rising costs and staff shortages. It is your job to ask so do so thoughtfully. Consider asking for monthly gifts of $5, $10, or $20 which may make it easier for people who support your mission to make a gift.

As you ramp up asking, ramp up thanking

Write a fresh letter to acknowledge every gift and thank people for remembering your organization with a donation. Every donor deserves a personal, heart-felt thank you that brings a smile to their face.

Make time for self-care

There is no health without mental health. Maintaining vital services and meeting new challenges in 2023 will require a fully charged team. I encourage boards to personally thank staff for their hard work and let them know their well-being is a top priority.

Notes on Nonprofits is a column in the Tallahassee Democrat produced by Alyce Lee Stansbury, CFRE, President of Stansbury Consulting, and includes resources, responses to reader questions, guest columns, and timeless topics. This column first appeared on Monday, November 14, 2022. Please send your comments and questions.

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