As the reality of a new year sinks in, it’s important to reflect on how to set your nonprofit up for success this year. One way to do this is by thinking about New Year’s resolutions: not the “going to the gym more” type (though that is on my list); rather, resolutions for your nonprofit to ensure a great year ahead. We suggest considering resolutions that can positively impact the organization as a whole, and to aid in this process, we have compiled a list of ideas to help you plan for a successful year ahead.

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Many nonprofits’ boards are homogenous and represent a small portion of society. This year, resolve to diversify your board. First, if your organization serves people, evaluate the community you are involved with and strive to include members close to them. Your board should be both an effective fundraising and management apparatus but also reflect who you serve. Begin the search by widening your criteria and reaching into the community! Develop new connections and attend networking events, you’d be surprised who you will run into.  We recommend getting a little employee and community input and see if they offer any insights on some awesome individuals that might just fit the part.



Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns are a great way to engage your millennial donors.  Peer-to-Peer allows individuals to create groups and fundraise together, perfect for those younger donors not yet ready to make a huge contribution. Plus  it allows your young donors to really become a part of your organization and make a difference. Not only will you receive the money from the campaign but you will also gain lifetime donors and expand your community!



Nonprofits generally have multigenerational staffs. In order to utilize the different skills possessed by your staff of different ages, design and implement mentoring and reverse mentoring programs. These programs will allow you to capitalize on different skills sets and allow for a more effective work environment (plus it’s fun)! Always get staff input and create incentives to get involved. Maybe a cool retreat or day out of the office for mentors and mentees? I mean seriously, who doesn’t want to spend a day out of the office?



Whatever goals you set for this year, make them SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound. Goals are essential for moving our organizations forward but can only do so if they are realistic! Using the SMART goals framework allows you and your staff to set goals that are sure to get your nonprofit off on the right foot.



We know that turnover can be high in the nonprofit world. Low salaries and huge workload can lead to quick burnout but there are ways to ensure that your staff is healthy and happy this year! Regularly check-in with your staff to see how they are doing and how you can improve their day-to-day work functions and overall jobs. Taking staff complaints seriously and making changes will also lead to a more satisfied office. When wanting to retain younger staff members, offering pathways for growth and development is essential. Being sure to offer career advancement opportunities will go a long way in keeping your young talents.

In addition, when staff does choose to leave, make sure a thorough exit interview is conducted that addresses both positive and negative aspects of their position.



Give your potential donors more options for donations. Allow for program choices, varying gift amounts or reoccurring donation options. We love how Pedal Revolution, a nonprofit bike shop in San Francisco, allows for bike donations! This is super relevant to their mission and gives individuals cool new opportunities for donation. Resolve to add one additional donation option to your repertoire this year (maybe birthday donations?)!



With the rise of social media, procrastination is at an all-time high. I know because I am seriously struggling to not check my Instagram right now. Instead, resolve to get started on projects earlier this year. Start designing your end of the year fundraising campaign or gala now. Or maybe lay out a calendar of the year with large projects already sketched out. Think about getting started on that new initiative or program just a few months earlier. By giving yourself adequate time you will find that you are able to anticipate problems and come up with creative solutions leading to more successful events and initiatives.



You knew this one was coming, didn’t you? This year might be the year for your nonprofit website overhaul.  Use the calendar you already created for those projects above and set aside the time (and funds) to do so! We know that this can be a big undertaking but that’s why we are here to help. Check out our free crash course on nonprofit web design.

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