With the hustle and bustle of the holidays and the constant noise of 24/7 news cycles, I like to pause at the beginning of the year with some quiet reflection. I ask myself, what have I learned from the year that ended and what do I hope to learn in the year ahead?
At Mollard Consulting, we begin this new year as we have before — reflecting on resolutions for the nonprofit sector. Our past columns for nonprofit resolutions can be viewed at these links for 2021 and 2020.
One of the resolutions we set forth for 2021 was “Support your employees and volunteers,” which was prescient.
A year ago, I wrote, “They are tired. We all are. But, for those on the front lines, it can feel like there is no end in sight, even with hopeful signs like vaccine distribution.” I had no idea that one year later we would have experienced the Great Resignation, continued remote workforces, dramatic shifts in compensation, unprecedented staffing shortages, and unrelenting pandemic operations. Those on the front lines are still pleading for people to get vaccinated and wear a mask. It is hard to comprehend that a year after the vaccine rollout, that we are still setting records for infections, hospitalizations, and deaths.
With a focus on gratitude, I offer an intention to all who work in healthcare and social services. Your contributions to public health are more numerous than we can count. I hope you find rest when you are weary and peace when you are troubled.
Our hopeful resolutions for the nonprofit sector in 2022 include:
- For nonprofit organizations to foster a sense of belonging for their employees and volunteers.
An article from Julia Taylor Kennedy in Harvard Business Review last year summarizes what it means to belong at work:
- Seen for our unique contributions
- Connected to our coworkers
- Supported in our daily work and career development
- Proud of our organization’s values and purpose
Creating a culture where people feel that they belong is a critical component of achieving diversity, equity, and inclusion. We encourage nonprofits to assess gaps and build strategy for stronger connection. Of all the industries and sectors that comprise our economy, we can think of none better positioned to be a leader in belonging than the nonprofit field.
- That shifting macroeconomic forces create new opportunities for nonprofits.
Government agencies have extraordinary resources because of federal spending, yet nonprofit agencies have extraordinary demand for services at a time of diminished capacity. This mismatch is stunning and not sustainable. We must come out of the pandemic with new ways of thinking about how critical services — from affordable housing to early learning to workforce development — are staffed and funded for the long term. Because without them, the economy, communities, and families falter.
- For nonprofit boards to build deeper relationships with those they serve.
The first finding from the 2021 Leading with Intent: BoardSource Index of Nonprofit Board Practices was that “boards are disconnected from the communities and people they serve.” In general, the right board members are not in place to establish trust, boards do not place a high priority on learning about the community, and they are not recruiting from the community.
While the first resolution about belonging was related to the workforce, board leadership can build a culture where all who are engaged with the organization feel connected — from every program participant to the largest donor.
Article by: Kerri Laubenthal Mollard, Founder & CEO