Five New Year’s Resolutions for Nonprofits

| by Priscilla Bratcher

I finished off the last of the Christmas chocolate while indulging in the latest episode of Downton Abbey the other night. The number on the scales the next morning was not pretty.  It wasn’t just the one night, mind you. It was the cumulative impact of some less than healthy behavior over the last few weeks. Time to get back to my fitness regimen.

I may be a little later to come to this realization than you. Maybe you turn over the new leaf on January 1. Whatever the case, this is the month during which millions of us focus on getting (back) into shape.

This is also a great time to think about organizational fitness. Based on what all the experts are telling us this month, here are some ways to think about getting yourself and your nonprofit into shape:

1.  Nutritious Diet

Is your organization fueled with healthy and nutritious ingredients? Do you maximize effectiveness with a supportive culture? Do your staff and board have a high degree of trust, open communication, a feeling of teamwork and a high level of motivation? If not, it may be time to throw away the junk food of mistrust and negativity and replace them with the yogurt of a healthy organizational culture.

2.  Regular Exercise

It’s easy to feel lethargic after a break and returning to “the grind” can leave many of us feeling overwhelmed with all the tasks left undone at the end of last year. The best advice is to keep moving, taking small but regular steps to get the work done. And don’t forget to leave your desk, either. Actual physically moving around the office is good for you!

3.  Maximize Sunlight to avoid SAD.

For many of us, energy drops at this time of year. Make a conscious effort to bring both physical and psychological light into your workplace. Read up on the latest findings and best practices in nonprofit management. You may experience a light bulb moment that encourages to try something new.

4.  Connect With Friends.

One of the best things about working in the nonprofit field is the amazing people who work and volunteer in our sector. Get out and meet them! Make appointments for lunch with someone you’ve long admired. Have coffee with a former colleague who now works for a different organization. Attend professional meetings and conferences. Connect.

5.  Raise Your Heart Rate.

Remember that you once fell in love with your organization, its mission, its people and its programs. Fall in love again. Find ways to reclaim the passion you had for your work when you first began. Go watch your nonprofit’s programs in action.  Read, or better, write a story about someone who’s been helped. Reconnect to the mission and get excited again.

I get excited when I think of all the ways in which we collectively make the world a better place. In fact, our community needs us to be at our best and that means we all have to get and stay in shape. So take the time for organizational and professional fitness and I’ll bet you can make 2014 your best year ever.



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