Setting resolutions for the new year is a tradition that some cherish while others bemoan. Personally, I have found it to be an exercise that I value.
I had no idea what was in store when I wrote my list of nonprofit resolutions for 2020. One resolution in particular — focus more on relationships and less on transactions — became even more critical as a result of the pandemic and will continue to be throughout 2021. Last year’s list can be found here.
This year we have a better idea of what to expect and how nonprofits can position themselves for success. My resolutions to ring in the new year of 2021 are as follows:
- Have a mindset of gratitude and abundance.
Give thanks, even when the glass seems half empty. It may seem like a platitude but it’s incredibly constructive. My gratitude mantra keeps me going — I remind myself of it daily and it helps me focus on abundance rather than scarcity. Nonprofit leaders who operate their missions on thin margins in good times may feel like abundance is a luxury. I promise you, though, offering up intentions in gratitude helps you see all that you have rather than all that you do not.
- Support your employees and volunteers.
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. And, they may be grieving. Give your team the space to be creative, and if they need, to mourn. There is no “one-size-fits-all” answer to what your team needs, so ask each and every one of them. You may get a variety of different responses but that’s okay. If you need a little motivation, the book called The Dream Manager by Matthew Kelly is terrific.
- Decide what diversity, equity, and inclusion means to your organization.
Social and racial injustice was a big part of our collective American experience last year. For many, it isn’t just an intellectual exercise to read about — it is their daily lives. Nonprofits play a critical role in how we, as a community, address these matters. The following questions can be used as a starting point for conversation within your organization:
- What can your nonprofit do to repair harm?
- What conversation can you facilitate at the board table and in staff meetings to authentically define diversity, equity, and inclusion?
- What community-based programs can you offer to help move conversations and policies forward?
- Try something new, especially in terms of fundraising.
Too many nonprofits relied on galas, golf outings, casino nights, and luncheons to meet their fundraising goals and balance their budgets. Those plans were turned upside down with the pandemic, so we encourage you to consider if your traditional events should be permanently changed. Assess what percentage of your budget relied on those efforts and determine instead how you could try something new. Maybe you build an annual fund campaign, start a major giving program, or launch a social media campaign to broaden your base of support. Individual giving is still strong. Reach out to your supporters with a case for support and you may soon realize increased giving with less chicken dinners.
In the spirit of gratitude, thank you for reading my weekly column and for inspiring our work to support the heart and hard work of nonprofits. I look forward to hearing what your resolutions are for this year full of promise.
Article by: Kerri Laubenthal Mollard, Founder & CEO