by Marie Palacios
New Year Planning Goals
December is almost over!
Can you believe it?
I barely had time to sing “Silent Night” (not that this season brings many of those in the nonprofit sector) and enjoy a sip of eggnog. Oh well, that doesn’t change the fact that a new year is just around the corner and with it comes new goals and struggles for nonprofits.
If you are like me and have been wearing 20 hats at work for years, you might find yourself “bracing” for another year. That mindset automatically forces us into a negative, defensive mode and blinds us to new possibilities. This year, I would like to challenge my nonprofit friends to “EMBRACE” the new year. Yes, that’s right…make a conscious choice to allow each and every challenge and success to grow your organization into a better version of itself.
It’s so tempting to get lost in the holiday spirit in December only to find ourselves in a New Year’s slump just when it’s time to jump back into programming. If we are going to embrace a new year we really need to be intentional about what we expect to accomplish. Walking into the office on January 4th without a clear vision and action plan is like hugging a porcupine. It doesn’t feel so great!
Here are a few tips for nonprofit staff, board members, and volunteers who want to hit the ground running this January:
1. Dust off your strategic plan and evaluate each goal and objective.
It’s important to celebrate the areas in which you shine and the areas that have fallen short. Tackle those big goals one by one and consult with your staff/board to make sure you have a realistic approach to meeting each one. (Helpful hint for those who do not have a current strategic plan. Create one. It is your roadmap to achieve your mission, vision, and goals.)
2. Set aside development time for the upcoming months.
This time needs to be as sacred as your own child’s birth! These things are important. They set a foundation for all future growth. So go ahead, block out your calendar and hang a sign on your door that reads “No Not Disturb. If it’s an emergency please call 911!” Seriously though, it seems that “planning time” is always tossed to the side every time the phone rings, a doorbell rings, or a client raises needs our help. News flash. Clients will ALWAYS need your help, so if you don’t treat your planning and development time as sacred, you won’t be around in the future to help anyone at all.
3. Create Calendars
In fact, you might want to finalize a few calendars! For example, here at my nonprofit we plan to release the following in January:
- 2016 program/events calendar that lists major events and programs. If a an event date simply cannot be finalized right now, then list it under the correct month so the community knows to stay tuned for more information.
- A fundraising calendar is also helpful so that event planning and grant deadlines don’t sneak up on you! By the end of January, our staff will have presented our fundraiser events calendar and grant application calendar to our board of directors. This makes ensures that we are all on the same page and no one gets over-committed with competing activities.
- A donor touch calendar- Most experts agree that an effective fundraising/development plan should include at least 7 donor touches each year. Creating a monthly outreach plan ensures that your donors can and want to stay engaged.
If you are interested in learning practical tips to increasing your “donor touches” next year, stay tuned for January’s blog.