Five Ways to Make 2015 the Best Year Ever

by Danielle Irving

“Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one” –Brad Paisley

Happy 2015! The above quote is one of my favorites. I love the beginning of a New Year. It’s a perfect time to reflect on the past year, the ups and the downs, and to plan for the upcoming year.

Here at Armstrong McGuire, we practice what we preach and we take time out for a retreat at the beginning of the year to reflect and to plan. What are some ways that you can take advantage of this clean slate of the New Year for your nonprofit? These are some ideas my colleagues and I came up with:

1. Take a Retreat. Take some time away with your colleagues and major stakeholders. Perhaps just your staff, your Board, your key volunteers and/or benefactors. Try to get away for a weekend, an overnight or at least a full day. Go somewhere different, to change your surroundings and to get away from the noise of your day-to-day operations. It’s a perfect time to reflect on what went well in the last year and challenges you encountered. It’s also a perfect time to plan for the upcoming year.

2. Dust off your Strategic Plan. Strategic Plans are living breathing documents and are meant to be implemented; not just to sit in a drawer or on a shelf. Look at where you stand with the overarching plans for your organization and some specific tactics you can execute in 2015.

3. Say “Thank You.” The New Year is a perfect time to say thank you to the people who came through with those vital year-end gifts. Let them know how much you appreciate their support and report back about how their help assisted your nonprofit in finishing strong for 2014. Let them know about upcoming events and opportunities to support your mission so they can get important dates on their calendars.

4. Start planning for the event season. The Spring tends to be the season of events. Start planning for a comprehensive plan around the galas, lunches, symposiums, etc. you’ll be hosting. Events provide wonderful opportunities for stewardship, which is a tremendously important and often overlooked aspect of a comprehensive fundraising plan.

5. Visit with your major stakeholders. Especially your major gift benefactors and prospects. The beginning of the year is a great time to thank them for their support of your mission. It’s also a great time to listen to their thoughts and ideas about your organization and engage in meaningful conversation about the upcoming year.

We here at Armstrong McGuire wish you and your organization all the best for 2015. Happy New Year!

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