New year, same you.

I am a sucker for that new year energy. 

Goals, dreams, resolutions, vision boards, reflection questions, brainstorming meetings…give me all of them. I am ready for bold intentions and BIG plans—and I’ve got the new calendars and planners to prove it. 


It turns out that January 1 is just a day. And the person I am today, in January, is more or less the same person I was in December, and November, and October. Maybe the science is right: change happens best a little at a time

This year, as I sat down to make my list of “ins” and “outs” of 2024, I noticed something interesting: almost all of the habits and intentions I identified were things I had started (or even fully adopted) last year. My list was less “break the system” and more “keep doing/refining/slightly modifying this system that works.” 

The goals I identified felt a little bit new because Q4 tends to derail many of my habits. The overwhelm of campaign writing meant that I stopped intentionally time-boxing my day. A small surgery in November meant that I had to stop going to my favorite workout class throughout the holidays. The hustle of a very busy season meant that we had to temporarily scrap our slower family weekends. 

When I identified 2024 priorities like “use Motion to plan my day,” “go to Bodypump three times a week,” or “prioritize Spontaneous Saturdays,” they weren’t actually new ideas—they were returns to the habits I already had; habits that I know make me feel my best. 

When I asked team S+G about their own goals, their comments echoed my own. Many of us sat down to cast a vision for the new year and realized that we had already turned some of our goals into habits. We already knew what to do to—we just had to keep doing it. 

We already looked (and worked) a lot like the people (and teammates) we wanted to be—no huge overhaul required. 

So this year, as those January vibes make you feel like you want to throw everything out and start over, consider what’s already working. What can you just keep doing? What can you do more of? What can you do less of (or stop doing entirely)? What can you tweak a tiny bit to make it better? 

As James Clear explains in Atomic Habitsif you get 1% better every day for a year, you’ll be 37x better by the end of 2024. Turns out those tiny pivots (truly, 1% is almost nothing) really add up! 

So that’s the plan. Celebrate our wins and the habits we’ve already built. Do more of what serves us and less of what doesn’t. Aim to get 1% better every day. Exhale. Rest. Tackle the new year just like always—with excitement, energy, compassion, and good work. 

What about you? What are your goals for 2024?

  Team S+G’s (teeny tiny) 2024 Tweaks

  • Lindsey: Shop less and use up what I have instead of buying new. Also, keep perfecting my morning routine. 
  • Ian: Practice saying no to things that don’t fill my bucket or get in the way of me spending time with my kids.
  • Allison: Clear the kitchen island every night before going to bed and wear slippers while working from home. 
  • Maddie: Protect my peace and focus my energy on things that make me happy. 
  • Amanda: Make smaller grocery store trips, meal plan, and share leftovers with my mom. We’re trying to reduce the amount we throw away just because it went bad! 

How we work better

Hello friends! Are you ready for some well-deserved rest? Regardless of how or what you celebrate, we hope this weekend is full of peace, joy, great people, good books/movies/music, cozy blankets, muted notifications, yummy snacks, and extra-long naps.  

Team S+G is preparing for some much-needed calm after a busy Q4 storm—and to close out the year, we wanted to say THANK YOU. All of our work is possible because of people like you—our clients, friends, and subscribers! We love getting to be in your inbox each week, and we cannot wait for another year of learning and fun in 2024! 

As we wrap up another year, we’re looking back on a few of the things that made our work better over the past 12 months…

  • BasecampDid you know our team doesn’t email each other? We manage and write everything in Basecamp so that everyone can see the back-and-forth and nothing falls through the cracks or gets trapped in one person’s inbox. 
  • Being smart with meetingsIt’s simple: only have a meeting if you actually NEED a meeting. Most of the time, a few minutes of thoughtful reflection and a written note will do the trick. 
  • Team lunchEvery Wednesday, our team has lunch together online. The only rule? No talking about work. It’s the best, and we highly recommend you implement it in 2024! 
  • Airtable. We built a comprehensive content calendar in Airtable (inclusive of EVERYTHING team S+G is pushing out for clients), and not to overstate it, but it has revolutionized our content team’s workflow. 
  • Motion. Our team leaned into time boxing this year—and Motion became our new best friend. It turns your to-do list into calendar items and basically schedules your whole work day. Life-changing. 
  • Paper notebooks. Despite our work as digital marketers, the majority of team S+G still loves a good paper notebook to jot things down. And we have STRONG opinions on which notebooks are best. (To be fair, not everyone on our team is on the paper notes train. Oh well.) 
  • Otter. If you’ve ever been in a meeting with us, you’ve met Otter—our virtual assistant! Otter transcribes and records all of our calls, making it super easy to go back and review comments, share key points with team members, and focus on the conversation instead of scrambling to take notes.
  • MAPs. Every month, we review what is working, what we want to learn, and what we could do better. It’s a constant review process that makes us stronger all year long. 

What about you? What has made your work better this year? And what are you excited to implement in the new year? Leave a comment to let us know!

Is Giving Tuesday dead?

On the very first Giving Tuesday in 2012, our team went all out. We didn’t quite know what we are doing, but we created a command center, borrowed staff from across the organization, and camped out on every single social media platform looking for conversations to join. It was loud and fun and exciting—and it felt like we were onto something special. 

The next year, we went even bigger—our team was in the office at 5:00 a.m. recording personalized thank you videos for every single donor in real time. It was insane. And amazing. And the energy was off the charts. 

Fast forward to this year. When Ian and I met for coffee on Tuesday (on our 12th Giving Tuesday…and our 12th year running GT campaigns for awesome organizations), we looked at each other and said the same thing, “Is Giving Tuesday dead?” 

The short answer is, of course, no. Preliminary data shows that, this year, “donors contributed $3.1 billion to U.S. nonprofits on GivingTuesday, roughly the same amount as last year.” 

Over $3 billion in charitable giving is incredible and absolutely worth celebrating. (And I hope that your organization felt this kind of success this week, too!) 

But there are some alarming stats, as well: 

Basically, Giving Tuesday fundraising is about level with last year—but its coming from 10% fewer people. For a mass giving day, this is a problem. 

The whole point of GT has always been to get a lot of people—and ideally a lot of NEW people—to make a gift. And while big donors giving big gifts is awesome, it’s also dangerous. Data Officer Rosenbaum explained it best: “When we see this increase in the average donation on Giving Tuesday, we see that as a warning sign, not as something that we should be looking for.”

For our team at S+G, the even more alarming trend we’re experiencing is a decrease in energy and creativity around Giving Tuesday. Put simply, the vibes just aren’t there anymore. 

Maybe that’s just us (if you did something awesome and creative for Giving Tuesday, leave a comment and let us know. We would LOVE to be proven wrong!). But we miss the big swings that organizations used to take on GT—nationwide events, huge partnerships, custom landing pages, brand new content. Most of all, we miss how personal and scrappy and up-for-anything the day always felt. 

So where do we go from here? Is the day dead? 

No, of course not. It raises money, it raises awareness, and we are proud to be part of this incredible movement of generosity every year. 

But we do think the door is open for some renewed creativity—whether on Giving Tuesday or somewhere else. We’re taking this week and our ‘meh’ feelings as inspiration to think bigger, go bolder, and swing for the fences. Every movement (Giving Tuesday included!) starts as an idea—and we think we’re ready for some new ones! 


When we create content calendars for our clients, there is always a reminder included in the first week of November:

Schedule your thankathon.

Here at Swell+Good, we are huge believers in the attitude of gratitude—and there is no better season to go heavy on the thank-yous than November, a month that’s already dedicated to being grateful. As an added bonus, a gratitude-focused November helps set you up for a successful year-end fundraising push by reminding donors just how much you appreciate their support! 

(PSA: This works in “real” life, too! Use this month as a reminder to express gratitude to your friends, family, coworkers, baristas…the list goes on and on!)

So now back the topic at hand…what, exactly, is a thankathon? 

A thankathon is a lot like a phone campaign, except instead of making phone calls to ask for money, you make phone calls to stay thank you.

It’s an opportunity for your team to pause their daily tasks (yes, even in the midst of a busy season) and connect with donors in a meaningful, low-pressure way. 

Best of all it’s a dedicated time to express your attitude of gratitude! 

How do I plan a thankathon? 

  1. Pull a list of all of your donors this year, including phone numbers. We suggest pulling a list that includes last year’s Q4 donors, too, regardless of whether they’ve given in this calendar year yet or not!
  2. Solicit volunteers from your team, board, and volunteers. A thankathon is truly a “more the merrier” activity, so invite everyone to get involved! 
  3. Distribute lists of donors to each participant. Give each person a list of 10-20 names to start—they can always request more! 
  4. Choose a day (or a week). We’ve found that a thankathon works best when everyone is calling at the same time, so set aside some time that is devoted to this effort.
  5. Make your calls! Start dialing and say thank you! You never know who you might connect with! 

How do I make my thankathon successful? 

We’ve done our fair share of thankathons, so here are a few tips we’ve learned over the years:

  1. Get everyone involved. Don’t just ask your fundraisers to handle it—instead, put out an open invitation. Finance team. Board members. Volunteers. The staff members that sort the mail. Everyone can say thank you! 
  2. Write a script. Not everyone is comfortable on the phone, so help out your team by providing them with a few talking points! 
  3. Be prepared for lots of voicemails. These days, many people do not answer unknown numbers. (It’s me. Hi. I’m the problem, it’s me.) No sweat. A thank-you voicemail is still appreciated, and it’s often easier for the caller, too! 
  4. ONLY SAY THANK YOU. Do not (I repeat DO NOT) ask for money. Or time. Or anything. You are purely calling to say thank you. 

If you decide to host a thankathon this year, reply to this email to let us know! We’d love to encourage you—and we can’t wait to hear how it goes! 

You got this.

Is anyone else already feeling the pressure of Q4? Ready or not, we’re here—in a nonprofit marketer’s busiest time of the year. 

First things first—you got this. Yes, it’s going to be busy. Yes, you may have some late nights or early mornings. And yes, there will be moments where you feel like you just cannot build one. more. email. 

But you will make it. Because you always do. 

As you prep for a big end-of-year push, we’ve compiled a few of our favorite resources for a successful Q4. Have something to add to the list? Email us and let us know! 

Q4 is here. Let’s do this, team!