4 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Nonprofit

Philip Manzano • Dec 27, 2016

Take this time to reflect, stop bad habits, and create positive ones for your nonprofit this new year.

Happy New Year! It’s a time of new beginnings, fresh starts and cold weather. All your friends and family are vowing to eat healthier, exercise more and save money — all lofty resolutions that may or may not see success.

But resolutions aren’t just for individuals. Businesses and organizations are also seeing the new year as a time to reflect, stop bad habits and start new ones. To get you started, we’ve got four different resolutions that you should be considering at your nonprofit organization.

1. Take Time to Learn

There are so many free webinars and learning opportunities out there for your nonprofit to enjoy.

There are some great organizations providing educational webinars and trainings for nonprofits regularly. We encourage you to check out:

They cover everything from budgeting to changing the culture of your organization. Their websites are regularly updated with new opportunities for live webinars — a lot of which are free!

Maybe you want to make a commitment to attend one webinar every month. This is an attainable goal for both you and your staff. The more time you take to learn, the more efficiently you will be able to do your work. There’s so much content out there and 2017 is the year to take advantage of it and move your nonprofit ahead!

2. Start Saying No

There is power that comes with saying no to things that aren’t a good fit for your organization. For nonprofits saying ‘no’ can be affiliated with a sense of guilt, or a feeling that you aren’t doing enough for your target community. But a single nonprofit cannot do everything. Taking on more than you can handle will leave you and the team burnt out, compromising the quality of everything you do.

Know what you do and do it well. Don’t take on every grant opportunity just because the opportunity is there. See if this new project or task is feasible for your team and how it fits into the mission of your organization. 

For example, you have an animal shelter with the mission of finding homes for puppies. It’s the holiday season and up comes the opportunity to feed hungry children in your community. While this opportunity is worthy and would be a great thing to do, it 100% does not fit into your mission and you should probably leave it to an organization whose scope is to serve vulnerable children. Just because something is good doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

3. Review and Archive Your Website Content

Make sure everything you are putting out into the world is up to date. If I were to navigate over to your website and see that the latest project updates are from 2014, I would assume your organization has flopped and would avoid donating.

Go back and archive some of your oldest materials to avoid clutter and add in the new. Focus your content around impact to give the donors exactly what they want to see. Make sure your website this new year provides a complete snapshot of the work that you do. 

4. Prioritize Networking

Having the right people in your corner can help move you and your organization forward in the new year. Sometimes a personal connection is all it takes to get your foot in the door for a new opportunity. In the new year we encourage you to make those connections and always help out others in your network when you can.

You should set attainable goals for networking. Maybe schedule in a networking event every quarter that allows you to meet new, interesting people. You could try and invite one new person out to coffee every couple months. Find ways that work for you to expand and strengthen your existing network. Don’t be afraid to get outside your comfort zone. Yes, networking can be daunting, but the rewards can be plentiful.

Whatever resolutions you set for your nonprofit this year, we encourage you to take the time and reflect, identify the things that are no longer working, find the gaps in your processes and try to make them better. Continue moving forward and don’t get caught up in old habits just for the sake of tradition. There’s no reason why our personal and professional lives cannot be improved in 2017. You’re in the driving seat and it’s time to take charge and make positive change happen.