What Are Your Nonprofit’s New Year Resolutions?

Nonprofit New Year Resolution

This post from last year’s been edited and reposted.

You’ll stop going to Krispy Kreme….on Sundays. You’ll work out more….than zero times a week. And you’ll stop playing Candy Crush…..until 2am. So many of us are in the throes of setting resolutions for the new year.

But what about nonprofits? How would those New Year Resolutions look?

I thought about that and felt resolutions would probably look a little like this….

Get Ideas For Your Nonprofit’s New Year Resolutions Below


New Years Post Image

1. Get More Fit.  This refers to the health, strength and endurance of an organization (i.e. its business model and sustainability.) Do you know what donor loyalty and loss rates are? Are holes, like internal control or loss prevention, plugged? Work bit by bit on things that weaken your effectiveness.

2. Lose Weight. Lose the metaphorical “muffin top” by dropping things like low impact or low-performing programs. Maybe poor performers on staff or board members who don’t contribute. Think about excess baggage the organization carries and how to trim. It may be as simple as performance evaluations or a Board Member contract.

3. Become More Organized. Bank statements in a Nike shoe box. Board minutes on the den bookshelf. Resolve to get things in order, both physical and electronic. But tackle this in pieces. Start with governing documents. Then maybe Board minutes. Making sure a physical copy of things like the exemption application, tax documents, audited financials and other regulated books and records are kept where required, like a principal office.

4. Save More Money.  So many organizations lose money behind holes in resolutions 1-3. Things like three different coffee vendors, losing equipment warranties or stolen money. So if organizing for organization sake isn’t riveting for you then approach resolutions from a budget perspective.

5. Learn Something New. We  know there’s something new to learn every day. But when you’re understaffed and over-utilized it’s easy to let training go. Problem is, our legal environment is constantly changing.  So commit a specific amount of time each week to watch or listen to something new and informational. This goes for staff and the Board too. I’ve  gotten in the habit of blocking off time in my calendar. Click on the resource tab in the menu if you want a few places to start, but BoardSource, Chronicle of Philanthropy, BlueAvocado and JDSupra are always great places for me.

6. Read More Books. There’s such an evolution in and around the nonprofit space that the number of books on nonprofits is incredible. Reading someone else’s  journey, challenges and problem-solving is also helpful. And serves as a great benchmark. Pick a few books to read this year. And if you’re looking for suggestions check out my Great Reads for Nonprofit’s list on Goodreads.

7.  Be More Charitable.  Organization’s are diligent about working with its own clients. But forget to work with other organizations. Consider some type of reciprocity, bartering or partner network. Help fill gaps in the programming or resources of someone else. Also taking the opportunity to possibly share costs and exchange ideas. Plus, what better way to build donors, clients and goodwill than working with others? Just make sure everything’s in writing, particularly where organizations work together in some type of business venture (remember the Form 990 actually asks about joint ventures and how they’re handled).

8. Learn More/Update Technology. This one is hard for me, especially with how quickly it all changes (aren’t we on iPhone 20?) But consider signing up for websites like Mashable or TUAW that post on the latest and greatest technology trends.

9. Update Policies.   I regularly come across policies dated April 1995 with Y2K references. Regularly. So while we’re in the process of new starts, breathe some life into these as well. Are processes the same? Other policies adopted that should be cross-referenced? Maybe policies were drafted from a template, but read like a Victorian novel? In any of these are the case take the opportunity to pick one or two every couple of months to review. Update, with a focus on making them understandable, easy to read and instructive.

10. Quit Coffee.  I threw this last one in for laughs, because who does this voluntarily?