DickersonBakker Blog

New Year. New Plan.

Red Kettle season is over, and the new year is upon us. So now what? Another New Year’s resolution? Another gym membership, special diet, or a promise to save the whales?

 In my childhood days, one year I made a resolution to ride my bicycle to downtown Houston and back. The roundtrip was 38 miles. I packed some food and water and hit the road. Less than a mile outside of my neighborhood, my tire went flat, and I had not packed a spare. My resolution had failed. New Year’s resolutions and goals can often be like this experience. Often New Year’s resolutions and goals are not successful because we don’t make a plan.  

What New Year’s resolutions do you have for your Corps or Area Command’s fundraising goals? Each year you should re-evaluate the plans for your major donors and your direct marketing programs. Ask yourself what staffing or training needs exist due to the disruptions from last year.

2020 was full of challenges with the international pandemic but it also offered unique fundraising opportunities. Decide what updates you need to make with your top donor plans to assure you achieve your Corps or Area Command’s revenue goals.

Here are a few things to consider:


High achieving teams depend on minimizing turnover. Identify additional staffing or training needs to assure your fundraising team is equipped and stay committed to your mission and goals. For instance, would a team member benefit from specific training in asking for major gifts or donor relations?

Donor engagement strategies

There are many ways to engage donors with your ministry and mission. Connecting with your higher-level donors personally is most effective. The face-to-face success rate is 70 to 80 percent, much higher than any other strategy.  Identify what other adjustments you should make because of the disruptions in 2020. Plan accordingly for at least the next 6 months of this year.

Donor files

Look closely at your donor files for giving history over the last 12 months. Evaluate your planned personal interactions and solicitations for your top donors in 2021. Note any changes in donor status – job, income, engagement, general status. This is especially true for your top 10% to 20% of the file.


Evaluate the current plans for all development strategies in identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship. Consider the donor assignments and what adjustments you should make to assure success in 2021.

Be deliberate in your overall donor plans for 2021. While last year was incredibly challenging, opportunities abound for securing major gifts. An effective New Year’s resolution challenges you to make the proper plans. The same goes with conducting a New Year’s review for your ministry and mission. Like my attempted trip to downtown Houston, don’t only plan for one scenario. So, pack an extra tube and let’s strategically make this year’s plans a wild success. Downtown….here we come!

Ready to take your Corps or Area Command’s fundraising to the next level?

Our team at DickersonBakker understands the unique challenges that The Salvation Army faces. Contact us today to learn how we can help you advance your mission of doing the most good for those in need throughout the communities you serve.

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