Does It Bring You Joy? 13 Ways Nonprofits Can Declutter and Reset for Spring

When the world around you is out of order, it feels good to bring order to the things in your control. Marie Kondo would approve of this philosophy. She said, “Putting your nonprofit in order is the magic that creates a vibrant and happy life.”

Okay, you got me, she said “house,” not “nonprofit,” but her message works for nonprofits too. When you declutter and apply a little self-care to your nonprofit, you will improve your team’s efficiency, productivity, and, yes, happiness too.

Here are 13 ways you can Kondo your nonprofit this spring.

#1: Cleanse your data

Assess your data situation by running data integrity reports. Find out where your data is not accurate, current, or complete. With Salesforce, records are automatically updated with data from trusted Lightning Data solutions like D&B Optimizer from Dun & Bradstreet or InsideView.

You can also identify records with invalid or missing emails with a National Change of Address (NCOA) update. A data append service completes records with missing email or mailing addresses.

If you regularly see issues with data standardization, then it’s time to implement data entry rules and procedures so everyone’s handling data the same way.

Develop a process for getting profile updates from members and other constituents, for example, upon their annual membership renewal or prior to an annual campaign. Ideally, your technology allows members and constituents to update their own profile. Ask them to review their profile to make sure everything looks good, and, if not, link them to an update form.

#2: Scrub email lists

Create criteria-driven lists that help you identify and segment inactive or disengaged users, for example, people who haven’t opened an email in nine months. Their impact on your email open rate is bad for your organization’s sender reputation, which can negatively impact your deliverability rate.

Send out an email campaign to reengage inactive subscribers. Ask them to opt down (receive less frequent emails) instead of opting out.

#3: Revisit marketing personas and segments

Change is constant. The personas or segments you identified a few years ago may no longer be the best ones to use now. For example, changes in your association’s industry may have resulted in new specialties with unique needs. Nonprofits might notice changes in donor or volunteer patterns. Schedule time to reevaluate personas and segments.

#4: Review your organization’s social profiles 

When’s the last time you looked at your social media profiles and bio information? What about the images you use in headers and profile photos? Make sure the copy and images reflect your current branding and organizational focus.

With a tool like Salesforce Social Studio, you can go deeper and reassess your current social media strategy and interaction with target audiences. Get a real-time snapshot of channel performance and a holistic view of all your social marketing.

#5: Refresh marketing and website copy

Use Google Analytics and Google Data Studio to identify the most popular pages on your website. It’s probably been a while since you labored over the copy on those pages. Make sure the copy is still relevant and spruce it up for readability while you’re there.

Take a look at marketing pages that ask people to join, volunteer, donate, or support. Are you promoting features or benefits? For example, are you listing features of membership, such as networking with peers, or are you describing the impact that networking makes on a person’s career and life? The latter approach is much more effective. Look at all your marketing collateral with the same discriminating eye.

Assess other external documents, such as invoices and forms. How user-friendly are they? Do they look dated? Is it time for a design refresh?

#6: Tidy up your website

You’ve heard it before: the website is never finished. How could it be when Google keeps changing its SEO algorithms? Makes sure both your website architecture and copy are still optimized for search engines. If you want to start this project yourself, use a plugin for WordPress or the Screaming Frog tool to check for broken links.

#7: Review workflows and processes

Gather colleagues for a conversation about workflows and processes used by staff and constituents. Make sure the right people are in the room—the ones who actually do the work or the front-line staff who interact with members, donors, and other users.

Find out what’s working and what isn’t. Where are you doing redundant work or using workarounds? What’s causing frustration? Is there a better way to do it?

Identify a few people who recently registered for an event, renewed membership, purchased a product, or made a donation. Talk to them about how the online experience could be improved.

#8: Clear away distractions

Now, let’s get personal. Turn off or reduce the frequency of your notifications—emails, Slack, messaging, social, etc. Instead of being constantly bombarded by distractions, choose to do things in batches. For example, check your email every few hours, not every 20 minutes.

#9: Organize your inbox

Speaking of email, in case you don’t already do this… create folders and rules so your newsletters and daily digests go straight into a “reading” or “professional development” folder. Schedule time for reading. If things are out of hand, start unsubscribing—Marie Kondo would be proud of this difficult but sometimes necessary decluttering effort.

#10: Clean up your act

Did you know that emails, notifications, and unexpected meetings consume 60% of a worker’s day? That’s just not right. Find out how you’re really spending your day by auditing your time with a tool like Toggl or perform an audit of your organization’s time-tracking software. This exercise may reveal deeper issues you need to resolve to improve productivity and morale.

#11: Declutter your to-do list

If you’ve been carrying a task or project on your list for months or longer, it’s time for a reckoning. These nagging jobs weigh on your mind and cause silent stress.

See if you can figure out why you’re you’re procrastinating, how long the job will take, and what you need to do it. Can you break it down into baby steps and start knocking them off one at a time? Can you delegate it to someone else? Is it even something you should have on your list?

#12: Start a new habit

Call one random person a week, perhaps a member, volunteer, or donor. Learn about their decision to belong or contribute. Find out about their motivations, goals, interests, and/or needs. You’ll learn valuable information while humanizing your organization for them.

You could also schedule time every week to send one thank you card or note saying “hello, thinking of you” to a volunteer or donor.

#13: Clean your workspace

Take ten minutes a day this week for real spring cleaning. Wipe down your laptop, surfaces, headset, and earbuds. Clean your desk. Take care of clutter. Purge paper—within reason, you don’t want to run afoul of any document storage policies.

Whether you’re working from home or reading this when you get back to the office, add something to your desk that makes you smile. If you need help with the heavy-lifting spring cleaning tasks, we’re here to help.