I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions – especially those that involve weight loss and “being your best you.” But I do think that the first of the year is a great time to check in with yourself (and your work) to make sure you’ve made progress.
For those that do like New Year’s resolutions, I think it’s incredibly important to be realistic when you’re setting goals for the year. If you’ve never stepped foot on a treadmill, it’s probably unrealistic to set a resolution to run a marathon this year (unless you have every waking moment of your life to dedicate to training). But setting the goal of running a 5k or a 10k by year’s end is much more obtainable.
There are plenty of resolutions to make for your organization, but here are a few low-hanging, but important, fruits to check off this year:
New Year’s Resolutions Every Top Nonprofit Must Keep
Revamp your donor/supporter/volunteer thank you’s. Personalization is incredibly important in this day and age. Donors are pretty smart, and they’ll know when the “personalization” of your thank you note is actually impersonal. If you examine trends in the consumer space, personalization is one of the most important pieces of a shopping experience. People crave attention and genuine interaction, even though their shopping habits suggest otherwise (i.e. online shopping versus shopping in a brick-and-mortar store). Use this year to really rethink the way you thank your donors. While revamping your thank you note is a good start, consider using your social media platforms to recognize donors and supporters (you’ll want to make sure to get permission before actually featuring a specific person or organization on any social media platform). A heartfelt thank you goes a long way.
Bring on that board member you’ve had your eye on. Whether it’s a specific person you’ve had in mind, or simply a position that you’ve needed to fill for a while, make it a point to get it done this year. Use your resources (donors, friends, email, social media) to find the best candidate for the job.
Review your bylaws. Making sure the organization is running as efficiently as possible is incredibly important, but are you still operating the way your original bylaws outline? If so, does this still make sense? Are there any ways to make your operation more efficient? If not, update your bylaws to reflect current practice. Or, if you’d like, make some organizational changes to get back into what your original bylaws state.
Archive and update your website content. Like most online spaces, your website can accumulate clutter throughout the year. Take a look at your site and make sure all of your current content is front and center, and move anything that’s passed to an archives space (or just simply make it inactive). Don’t delete content, as you never know when you’ll need to revisit it, but don’t let it take up space on your page.
And finally, make a personal resolution to continue to learn and grow in your knowledge of nonprofit management. We’ve got a lot of great webinars, articles, and resources here at Third Sector Today and Top Nonprofits. We look forward to sharing with you in 2015!