Top 10 for 2014

| by Bert Armstrong

Earlier this week I came across a Top 10 list of personal resolutions for 2014.  As I read each one, I found myself trying to translate them into organizational resolutions for our friends in the nonprofit world.  Here’s what I came up with:


Top 10 Personal Resolutions of 2014* Nonprofit Translations


Lose Weight Time to cut out fundraising events that don’t raise money, direct mail appeals addressed indirectly (i.e. Dear Friend) and strategic plans that are short on real strategies, impact, and accountability. 


Getting Organized PLAN YOUR WORK AND WORK YOUR PLAN!  The most effective fundraising starts with a well developed, properly executed plan.  If you are fundraising on the fly, it’s time to clean off your desk, throw away those last minute, half-baked ideas and put some well-tested ideas in place. 


Spend Less, Save More Cut back on things that don’t move your mission and vision forward so that you can invest more in achieving that mission and vision.  If your nonprofit doesn’t have financial reserves, a “rainy day” fund, or some type of invested fund or endowment, your leadership should think seriously about starting one.   


Enjoy Life to the Fullest Find passion in your work, your volunteer service, and in your own personal philanthropy.


Staying Fit and Healthy
  1. If you have a good strategic plan, follow it. 
  2. If it needs adjusting based on new realities, fix it. 
  3. If you don’t have a strategic plan that offers you direction and purpose, get one! 


Learn Something Exciting Visit one of your organization's most faithful donors.  Spend 30 minutes listening to them share about themselves and why they support your organization. 


Quit Smoking If there are things you are doing that you know are harmful to your organization, STOP. 


Help Others in Their Dreams
  1. Help donors use philanthropy to realize their dreams.
  2. Help staff grow professionally and find joy in their work.  
  3. Make sure you come to work everyday focused on your agency’s mission and the hopes, dreams and needs of those you are there to serve. 


Fall in Love Working for, donating to, or volunteering with a nonprofit allows you to demonstrate your passion for things you care deeply about.  If your values and those of your organization are aligned, you can live happily ever-after! 


Spend More Time with Family Get out of your office and spend time with your donors, volunteers, customers, and clients.  You won’t regret it. 
*Source:  University of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology

I hope 2014 fills your nonprofit, school, or church with inspiring vision, passionate leadership, and extraordinary philanthropy!  Happy New Year!

Bert Armstrong is co-founder and principal of Armstrong McGuire & Associates.  


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