Repeat What Works


After a difficult year, and a not-so-simple start to 2021, we’d be excused for wanting to wipe the slate clean.

But does starting over with a clean sheet of paper work for fundraising?

Sounds nice, doesn’t it?  But it’s usually the wrong thing to do.

The best way to move into 2021 is by looking at what worked best in 2020 and copying it.  Even during the pandemic, many organizations saw better than average results.  Some set records.  So, it would be a shame to not repeat what worked, right?

You can save yourself a LOT of time by doing this, AND you’ll raise more money doing it.  Why?  Because your donors voted with their wallets and told you that some of your fundraising last year was really effective.  It caught and kept their attention.  They wanted to get involved.  And it moved them to action.

If you think of your fundraising as a series of experiments, some of your experiments worked better than others.

So, your fundraising this year should include more of the things that worked well.  Take some time to identify those successes, and repeat them:

  • Copy the offers and creative approaches that worked.
  • Use those offers and creative approaches in other scenarios.
  • Find relevant, real-time opportunities for your donor to give today.

As you move into the new year, spend a couple of minutes brainstorming the reasons your donor gave last year.  And if you give her those same opportunities, she’s likely to help your cause again.


Steven Screen is Co-Founder of The Better Fundraising Company and lead author of its blog. With over 25 years' fundraising experience, he gets energized by helping organizations understand how they can raise more money. He’s a second-generation fundraiser, a past winner of the Direct Mail Package of the Year, and data-driven.

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