Do these 12 things to set your nonprofit up for success in 2023!

Get Your Social Media Strategy Squared Away

Many of you operate in small shops, and keeping on top of social media is tricky.  For years, I used a platform that starts with “H” to help me manage and schedule posts.  It was OK… and I was still struggling.  I recently made the switch to SmarterQueue, a social media management tool that boosts engagement by 10x and saves me HOURS each week. Get a free extended trial with my link

Up Your Engagement With Your Board

Schedule four – yes, 4 – meetings with every board member in 2023.  Meeting one-on-one with every board member allows you to get to know them on a personal level and helps you learn more about why they are involved with your nonprofit.

Schedule Meaningful Staff Meetings

If you’re lucky enough to have staff (even one), you should set them up for success.  Each week!  Schedule weekly one one-on-ones with each team member with the following components:

Connect With Your Donors Already!

You’ve heard the adage…supporters need to hear from you at least seven times before making an ask.  Have you mapped out your communication and donor stewardship plan for this coming year?  Take some time to look at both your donors and your calendar to ensure that you’re spending more time with people than in front of your screen.

Commit To Volunteer Recruitment And Retention

So…I had a habit of telling myself, “It will take more time to train a volunteer… I’ll just do it myself.”  Get over yourself already!  Spend a bit of time writing down things that bog you down that could be delegated to a volunteer cadre.  Better yet, spend a bit more time creating a one-sheet that describes how to do a task or project, and then identify key volunteers to handle the task!

Make Your Calendar Valued Real Estate!

You and you alone control your time, what you spend it on, and whom you spend it with.  Make a list of the most important work that you are responsible for, and block time on your calendar to handle it weekly.

Create a Finance Dashboard

Ever wonder why you can hear the sounds of snoring during the finance report at your board meeting?  It’s because more board members than not cannot figure out your fancy spreadsheet, never mind get into the minutia of your P&L statement.  Commit to a discussion with your Finance Committee about the most important numbers to discuss with the board, and create a dashboard to make this discussion easy and understandable. Need a sample? Shoot me an email at [email protected]

 Map Out Your Weekly Fundraising Plan

Yep, you know what you need to raise next year.  And, if you’re doing your work, you’ve created (and the board has approved) your annual fund development plan.  But, do you know how much money you need to raise each week?   (I’m hearing the sound of crickets.)  Write it down.  On the whiteboard that (should be) on your office wall.  Do you need to adjust your calendar and whom you’re spending time with?  Adjust and repeat.

Audit Your Policies & Procedures

Just when I think, “I can’t possibly hear this again”, I get a message from staff or board asking about the need for board or organizational policies and procedures.  Yes, they’re a thing.  Yes, you need to update, read, and adhere to them.  No, this is not hard.  If this has to do with board policies, let the Governance Committee take the lead.  If the question has to do with organization P&P’s…that’s a staff issue.  Do It!

Invest in Systems and Hacks

This is the time of year to think about what cool platforms, apps, and systems can augment how you do business.  I set aside time each year to assess what I’m currently using (or not using) if it’s helping or hurting my business, and if there’s something new on the market that I should consider.  As much as we’re in the business of people in the nonprofit sector, there are so many tools that can help us automate and create efficiencies (which allows us to spend more time with people). 

Block Off Me Time!

You’ve got PTO time to use, and you’d better use it!  There is no glory in having 17 PTO days at the end of the year.  (If your nonprofit is doing things right, there’s a “use it or lose it” plan in play.  Block off when you’re going to “run away from work” each year.  I do!  Ask your staff to do the same.  Discuss.  Make sure that key deadlines and projects are handled.  And go have some fun away from the office.

Release The Hounds! (To Collect Critical Stories)

Deploy your board and committee members, donors, clients, participants, and volunteers to collect stories for you to use when telling stories about your organization. Yes, we need data to back up the stories.  But, stories connect people to your nonprofit and your mission.  Stories make the heart sing.

If want to talk about any of these items in detail or could benefit from an accountability partner to help keep you on track, reach out, and let’s chat!