Nonprofit leaders continue to face the ongoing challenges of fundraising in an increasingly competitive market. But the most recent “Nonprofit Leadership Impact Study” from NonProfitPRO shows that when NPOs have an intelligent strategy, things go much better. While the study covers leadership issues ranging from staffing to board management, many findings tie directly into marketing communications.

NonProfitPRO found that, while having a lack of resources remains a significant problem for nonprofits (40%), it is no longer NPOs’ number one challenge. What has risen to the top? Difficulty acquiring donors (41%), followed by lack of resources (40%) and awareness among potential donors (28%). These issues can be positively addressed with intelligent donor acquisition and retention strategies, helped along by high-quality, impactful donor communications.

Here are five steps to an even better 2022:

1. Prioritize retention. Only 10% of nonprofits believe that their biggest challenge is retaining donors. However, no organization can succeed in acquisition alone. Retention is key.

2. Develop a strategy. More than half (53%) of nonprofits have no in-depth strategic plans for fundraising initiatives at the start of each fiscal year. For the best chance at success, it’s time to get a strategy in place.

3. Value engagement. Engaging donors and keeping them involved in your mission is as important as direct fundraising. The more donors feel invested in what you are doing, the more likely they will give. That’s why regular non-fundraising communications are critical to your mission, too.

4. Focus on monthly giving. Annual and spontaneous gifts are great, but NPOs need to prioritize monthly giving they can count on. Only 29% of nonprofits are engaging donors through monthly giving recruitment efforts. Even fewer — 16% — are prioritizing an increase in recurring gifts. To keep the challenge of “lack of resources” out of the number one spot, monthly giving needs to be a significant focus.

5. Engaging and educating the board. Board members are a critical component of an NPO’s fundraising strategy. Yet 43% of NPOs say that “establishing clear roles/expectations of each board member” is a challenge, as is “ensuring that each member has an understanding of fundraising” (41%). Board members’ responsibilities are often communicated verbally during recruitment, but too often, they aren’t put into writing where board members can refer back to them. Get those expectations in print!

For an NPO, reshaping priorities and establishing a donor acquisition and retention strategy can have a tremendous payoff. Want success in 2022? Make these a priority!