Person writing a list of resolutions for nonprofit organizations

16 New Year’s resolutions for nonprofit organizations

Happy New Year! It’s time to get back to the grind and prepare for an exceptional year ahead! If you haven’t already, take some time to reflect on your nonprofit organization’s greatest accomplishments and most challenging moments of 2019. What are you most proud of? Who helped drive your success? What could you have done to avoid some of the challenging moments? Use the lessons you learned in 2019 to help you prepare for a great 2020.

You might already have some resolutions in mind for your nonprofit organization. But if not, check out our top 16 resolutions that can make a big difference in your organization’s success in 2020. Whichever resolutions you choose, be sure to identify specific goals you can measure and track throughout the year.


Your finances will determine the limits of your work and help sustain your organization. So, don’t leave money on the table! Here are some financial resolutions you may want to make for your nonprofit:

Create a realistic budget.

Create a realistic and well-planned budget to track your expenses and revenue. Your budget will help you make informed decisions about what you can reasonably accomplish.

Develop strong fundraising goals.

Once you have a realistic budget, it’s time to think about how much revenue you’ll need to generate through fundraising. Use the previous year’s amount raised as a benchmark for the coming year. It will also be helpful to consider when you’ll need funds to come in throughout the year.

Increase the number and amount of individual donations your organization receives.

Some great ways to accomplish this goal is to create a recurring giving program, strengthen your relationships with current donors, or develop different channels for giving.

Diversify your funding sources.

Diversifying your funding sources is one of the best ways to develop a sustainable organization. It’s also a guaranteed way to reduce financial stress! Consider other funding opportunities that are available for your nonprofit. These opportunities may include foundation grants, government contracts, corporate sponsors, fee for service, or earned income.

Make it easy to give.

Donating to your organization should be easy! Take the time to review the process someone would have to go through if they wanted to donate. Is it easy to find donation details? Do you have multiple ways to give? Like it or not, people want a quick, easy solution to everything. If your potential donors struggle to give you money, they’ll probably end up not donating.

Take better care of your donors.

Your organization is just one out of a million amazing nonprofits that your donors can give to. How can you better convey your appreciation for your donors’ support? How can you engage your donors in your organization’s mission? Thanking and engaging your donors are two great ways to ensure continued financial support.

Update your GuideStar profile.

If you haven’t looked at your GuideStar profile in a while (or ever!), this is a great time to make some updates. First, go through your profile and update any old information. Update your program results from the past year, as well as your financial data. And if you haven’t earned a platinum seal of transparency yet, start working towards it.

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Setting operational goals is key to ensuring your organization’s effectiveness and performance.

Conduct a strategic planning process.

One of the best ways to develop operational goals is to go through a strategic planning process. Keep in mind, this is not the same as opening up last year’s strategic plan and working on a few updates with no input from anyone else! Engaging your staff, volunteers, board members, and stakeholders will give you an objective look at what your organization is doing well, how it could be improved, and how you compare to similar organizations. This insight can then be used to help you identify strong organizational goals and strategies.

Invest in your staff.

Working for a nonprofit shouldn’t equate to being overworked and underpaid. But this is often the case, leading to an increasing rate of nonprofit employee turnover. Consider ways you can invest in your staff, even if funding is tight. Can you partner with another organization to offer professional development opportunities? Is it possible to give staff a surprise Friday afternoon off? Even a heartfelt show of appreciation can go a long way in keeping employees happy.

Take care of yourself.

Nonprofit leaders are great at many things, but self-care isn’t one of them. Remember, if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of others! Make it a goal to add self-care activities, like taking a real lunch break, into each day and bigger activities into your months or quarters.

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Strong engagement with the community you serve is vital to your organization’s success.

Partner with other nonprofit organizations.

Partnering with other nonprofits is a great way to engage with other community members. It also helps you leverage additional resources so all organizations can better meet their mission. In what ways can a partnership with other nonprofits be mutually beneficial? Perhaps you can share information, funding, space, technical assistance, data collection tools, trainings, or staff/volunteer support. By leveraging resources, partners have the opportunity to build on each other’s strengths and expertise, avoid duplicating services, and work together to address barriers to addressing community health issues.

Be present on social media.

Social media is probably the best free tool you can use to highlight your organization’s work. Use different social media platforms to engage with diverse clients, volunteers, partners, and funders. Share your success stories (and others’ too!), celebrate your organization’s milestones, and let your community know how they can support you.

Update your website.

Nonprofits need great websites too! Your website is how you tell the world who you are, what you do, and why people should invest in your organization. Your supporters, donors, and community want to know all the great things that are happening in your organization. Make a plan to update your site regularly in 2020, including updating your images, checking your hyperlinks, and ensuring all staff contact information is correct. And don’t forget to check out the mobile version!

Recognize your volunteers.

Your volunteers likely play a big role in engaging with your community. Make sure they’re able to represent your organization by providing them with trainings and professional development opportunities, just as you would with your staff. It’s also important that you show them your appreciation for all their hard work. You can show your appreciation through personalized gifts or organization swag, a special lunch, or a simple thank you card. You may also want to use social media to share volunteers’ success stories and their impact on your organization and community.


Ensure your programs are working.

It’s easy to get so busy that we never stop to consider if our programs and services are working. But this is an important part of meeting your mission. Try to set aside some time in the new year to ask your clients their thoughts on your programs or services. Revisit your goals and objectives to see if they’re still relevant. Have you been capturing data that would allow you to evaluate your programs or services? Not only will these activities help you better serve your community, they’ll also make you more likely to win grants.

Update your community data.

Large agencies, such as the Annie E. Casey Foundation, release new community data at least annually. Make sure you’re using the most up-to-date data in all your organization’s materials and grant proposals. Staying on top of recent data will give you new insights into your community, their issues, and effective solutions.

Developing resolutions for your organization allows you to track your progress as you work through the year. The resolutions mentioned above include some strategies that can hold you accountable with your financial, operational, community engagement, and program/service goals.

Until next time!

Have you already developed resolutions for your nonprofit organization? Please share your resolutions below!


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January 7, 2020

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