Six Nonprofit Resolutions for the New Year

High angle view of people meeting at table and working with laptops and touchpads

2020 certainly didn’t make for a stellar year for many nonprofit organizations. Will your organization keep the same resolutions for 2021 or consider new ideas to push for better sustainability after a trying year? As we all move forward, here are six  resolutions you can easily implement for your nonprofit.

New Year Resolution #1: Multi-Year Budgeting for Your Nonprofit

If you have a strategic planning committee, their focus continues to be on the future. Executive directors, board presidents, and board members should also be forward-thinking on their own, typically in the form of a multi-year budget.

This forward-looking budget isn’t merely dreams and hopes. This type of budget planning involves looking closely at metrics, ROI, and performing economic forecasting and trend analysis with your accountant. Think about 2020, the pandemic, and how the year affected your budget. What if a year like 2020 happens again in the future? How would that affect your organization?  A deep dive into the budget and straight-forward planning for the next few years will help you prepare for unforeseen circumstances

New Year Resolution #2: Make Decisions for Nonprofit Fundraising Using Financial Data

Prior to your 2021 fundraising planning meetings, make sure to prepare and present your most recent financial statements. You may even consider sharing your organization’s financial statements with your staff. Just make sure to protect sensitive information such as employee salaries or bonuses, etc. The most recent profit & loss statement is a great data point to use when discussing needs, wants, and must-haves to keep your nonprofit afloat.

New Year Resolution #3: Nonprofit Networking

Networking events in 2020 were unusual. It was strange not to be physically together in a large space surrounded by many other like-minded attendees, but these virtual events were easier to attend. Did you notice changes in event attendance because they were suddenly online? Many nonprofits, as well as professional organizations and corporations, are realizing virtual events can be successful. While we all hope to get back to face-to-face networking and meetings, we are certain you will continue to see more online networking or learning events. There are many virtual event opportunities that you can attend from the comfort of your own home while continuing to show support.

Also, try to make time to connect with other nonprofit directors or peers in similar positions as you. You may not talk specifics about your organization’s future plans, but you will learn new things, get some ideas, and find like-minded folks to vent with.

Don’t forget our Breakfast with Benefits series as a way to connect virtually with peers!

New Year Resolution #4: Don’t Waste Your Nonprofit Marketing Content

Marketing directors understand this: producing content that “works” takes a lot of effort and time. When ANY marketing collateral or content returns more positive engagement than expected or works on multi-level platforms, repurpose it. Unless you are using the same content every single day, ideas that grab or remind donors about your mission can and should be used over and over again.

If you have created different marketing messages that were successful on social, print, e-mail, search or mass media, find ways to slightly modify it to best suit each platform rather than creating new content each time you post to save you time and money.

New Year Resolution #5: Get to Know Your Nonprofit Evangelists

Your nonprofit’s donors, volunteers, board members, and co-workers strive to fulfill your organization’s mission each year. How well do you know your colleagues? How about your volunteers and their families? When it comes to your board members, do you only interact with them during meetings, which are now virtual? How does the attention you give to major donors compare to your outreach toward your mid-level donors or new donors…or all donors?

While there may not be enough time in a day to get to really know your main supporters deeply, there are ways you can learn more about people who love your organization. Try sending a simple email or asking someone to lunch, or even sending a quick text or phone call can go a long way in connecting with and keeping your “nonprofit evangelists” proclaiming the good news of your nonprofit’s mission.

New Year Resolution #6: Enjoy the Small Moments

Resolutions 5 and 6 are similar. Knowing how tough 2020 was, look back at how you celebrated with your staff and volunteers when something went extremely well. Did you take the time to show your appreciation but also pat yourself on the back?

How about taking the time for small victories? These achievements often go unrecognized but are essential in maintaining morale and showing appreciation to those who continuously contribute time, talent, and treasure toward your organization.

Instead of rushing from one appointment to the next, take a moment to simply be present and enjoy the journey. You and your team of staff, contributors, and advisors have all worked hard. Have that extra cup of coffee or stay a little longer at lunch with a co-worker one day. You all deserve it.

These six New Year resolutions are manageable and can make for a great year and beyond!

Do you have others? Tell us some of your New Year Resolutions for your nonprofit!

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