5 New Year’s Resolutions for Nonprofit Success
- Think Strategically.
- Aim for the Target.
- Communicate with Purpose.
- Mobilize the Village.
- Strive for Excellence.
Think Strategically. Thinking strategically means having or developing a strategic plan and working diligently to implement the plan with fidelity– meeting objectives and accomplishing goals. Too often in nonprofits, strategic plans take a tremendous amount of time and resources to develop only to sit on a shelf for 3, 5, or 7 years gathering dust. Strategic planning shouldn’t be onerous or overwhelming; it should yield a navigable roadmap to attainable success. And, the goals and objectives outlined in the strategic plan should drive our actions and our purpose throughout the year.
Aim for the Target. Once we have a strategy in place for what we will accomplish, the next logical step is to figure out what it is going to cost to make it happen and go out and find that funding! A lot of organizations are looking for all of the funding they can get from wherever they can find it. But this approach creates undue and perpetual stress that is largely counterproductive. Every organization needs a development plan with clearly defined goals and targets for all of its revenue sources, including grants and raised funds. Having defined, attainable targets reduces the overall stress-level of everyone in the organization (especially the development staff!) and allows everyone involved in funding to maintain focus and celebrate success when targets are achieved.
Communicate with Purpose. Nonprofits communicate with a variety of audiences, for a variety of reasons, in a variety of ways. Whether raising awareness of your cause, recruiting volunteers, inspiring and motivating employees, or soliciting donations, it is important to communicate with purpose. Each of your audiences is unique with different needs and motivations. An effective communication planning process will help you identify your audiences and the most effective ways to communicate with them, ensuring that you reach them in the appropriate media with messaging that will resonate with them at a frequency that will produce engagement.
Mobilize the Village. Each of the preceding resolutions builds up to mobilizing the village. With a strategy for what to accomplish, targets for funding the action steps to get there, and clear messaging that engages all stakeholders, the three core plans (a strategic plan, a development plan, and a communication plan) ensure that everyone is moving in the same direction, toward success. Then, mobilization simply becomes empowerment. Empowering stakeholders can take many forms from engaging board members in fundraising activities to breaking down silos and territorial domains among staff through allowing volunteers to do meaningful work and making it easy for donors to be a part of your success.
Strive for Excellence. The ideal of striving for excellence is something often cited in the business world but equally relevant for nonprofit professionals. Striving for excellence is an important part of professionalism and involves putting quality into everything we do. Striving for excellence is more of a mindset and an attitude than a set of concrete principles. When we strive for excellence, we take initiative and carry a personal sense of responsibility for our organizations’ success, show enthusiasm and go the extra mile to get things done with a “can do” attitude, and take ownership of problems, using innovative thinking to introduce improvements. Through all of this, we focus on self-improvement, seeking professional development to enhance our capabilities to be our best selves in our roles.
KFA Nonprofit Funding Solutions wishes you a great new year! We hope these resolutions are helpful in finding your focus for success throughout the coming year. Our wide range of services and professional development products are here for you along the way.