At the start of each new year, I take a moment to sit in reflection of what was and what will be. I try to avoid the banal and focus on the power of gratitude and intentions.
My heart is full of all that I am grateful for, yet I must acknowledge the truths of 2022, which were not always positive or light. It was not an easy year by many measures, but a lens of gratitude pushes me to look for the lessons and gifts of the journey.
Before the cacophony of obligations ramp up for 2023, I offer our Mollard Consulting tradition of writing new year’s resolutions for the nonprofit sector. It’s a practice we started in 2020 and continued in 2021 and 2022.
One of last year’s resolutions was that shifting macroeconomic forces create new opportunities for nonprofits. This still resonates given the continued economic unease and upending. However, while forces continue to shift, new opportunities have not always been realized.
That brings me to the resolutions for this year, which are:
1. For nonprofits to be fully staffed, and for those staff members to feel connected and rewarded.
A recent Chronicle of Philanthropy headline reads “Desperately Seeking Fundraisers.” The beginning of the article explains how dire the hiring situation is for nonprofits. Organizations with open fundraising positions have few applicants, resulting in fewer dollars being raised and donors engaged. With positions left unfilled, those who remain on staff are doing their best to pick up the slack.
It’s overwhelming and exhausting for everyone involved. It’s also a heart-breaking scenario that is not sustainable. Organizations must find the needed talent, and they must address the inequities that exist when it comes to workload, compensation, and benefits. We invite donors to be part of the solution with increased unrestricted gifts.
2. For nonprofit board members to be engaged in a constructive partnership with their chief executives.
Relationships have been tested over the last three years of the pandemic. We have found that the relationships between boards and chief executives are the most stressed and fractured. Consequentially, the outcomes are not what the organization intends because the people and places served by the mission suffer. It’s hard to fulfill your mission when the most important relationships within the organization are not working together toward a shared vision. We encourage you to review our article on why a constructive partnership is critical for exceptional board governance.
3. For human recovery and organizational resilience.
The fatigue across the sector is real. We cannot minimize the challenges of the last three years, but we can focus what is needed for recovery and resilience. The Center for Effective Philanthropy published an article called “The Changing Landscape of Philanthropy – Bolder Moves for Greater Impact,” which acknowledges the shifting dynamics of our time while offering the following solutions:
- Unrestricted gifts are an amplifier (and a huge responsibility).
- Nonprofits led by people of color, women, and those whose lived experiences are connected to the problems and are able to advance equity-based missions faster.
- Systems problems require systems solutions.
I trust that 2023 will be a year of change for the sector as nonprofits work to address internal and external challenges. We wish you all the best in the new year and thank you for your continued impact.