Friday, January 09, 2009

Energizing Ideas from Experts...Annual List of Resolutions for Nonprofits in 2009

For my annual post on suggested resolutions for nonprofits I have again called on my professional network at LinkedIn for contributions. I want to thank Maria Semple, Kate Barr, Amy Condit, Hildy Gottlieb, Sue Caruso Green and John Kenyon for their thoughtful, insightful recommendations for resolutions. This diverse set of resolutions provides quite a package of serious ideas for you to consider as you start your planning in this difficult year. Being thoughtful about the path we take is more important than ever, and these experts provide quite a bit to think about and ACT ON. Enjoy the post and leave your comments

Stay Visible, Embark on Creative Marketing and Find Gems Maria Semple
Nonprofits need to stay visible during this economic downturn and step up efforts to network in their community, implement creative marketing techniques online and offline, update their websites and ensure they have a "donate now" button. They should strategically mine their donor database to find those hidden gems that may be able to upgrade their giving and become a stronger partner.
Maria Semple's Website - The Prospect Finder

Maria’s Article on Prospect Research at NPO Central

Live the Values of Honesty and Integrity in Tough Economy Kate Barr
Kate recommends that nonprofits resolve to use good, honest, and reliable information, be honest about the reality of the financial and community situations that they face, and be honest about the decisions that they must make. They should not pretend that there won't be reductions and changes that might not be popular. Kate notes that many nonprofits’ values include integrity and honesty and this will be a year to live those values.

Kate Barr is Executive Director of the Nonprofits Assistance Fund in Minnesota
Kate Barr's Blog at the Nonprofit Assistance Fund

Board Education – Understanding the Role Amy Condit
Amy recommends that nonprofits resolve to provide better education to their board members – both new and existing - with emphasis on understanding their role in helping to achieve the agency's mission, as ambassadors and fundraisers. Amy also recommends having a retreat to refocus members on the agency's priorities for the short and long term.
Amy is a Director of Development at a Community Family Guidance Center in California

Follow The Pollyanna Principles Hildy Gottlieb
My resolution is “Follow The Pollyanna Principles.” The Pollyanna Principles are a set of guidelines that guide an organization to create significant, visionary change in their community. How to apply the principles? Your organization's leaders need to hold themselves accountable for creating the future of your community. Be conscious to hold yourselves accountable for making that future extraordinary! Next use means that align behind those visionary ends. Focus on interconnectedness rather than competition. Build upon your strengths, rather than focusing on your weaknesses. Be the change you want to see by walking the talk of your values. And finally, create systems that will codify the way you intend to do your work, to ensure things stay that way and don't "backslide." In tough economic times, when our communities need us more than ever, it is critical that we not make excuses for why we can't do what they need. As Community Benefit Organizations, holding "community benefit" as our highest purpose is why we exist!

The Pollyanna Principles simultaneously build strong communities AND strong organizations in good times, but they apply even more in bad times, when we are encouraged to compete even harder and cut back on services. Follow the principles, and organizations will find resources and strengths they didn't know they had, hiding in plain sight - all because they are holding "community benefit" as their first and most important purpose.
Find out more about Hildy’s new book - which is being released any moment - at her website

Soon Hildy will be publishing excerpts from The Pollyanna Principles here at her blog

Thank and Court Funders. Use Consultants Wisely Sue Caruso Green
Thank your funders for supporting your organization in 2008. A little thanks goes a long way. Take your top donors/funders to lunch early in 2009. Ask your board to organize a few lunches or breakfasts and invite your funders. Give them an update on your programs. Use consultants to take on short term assignments that will bring new donors in. "Pick the brains" of lots of consultants and hire some of them. This is a cost effective way to tap into top talent...there are a lot of excellent consultants in the NY metropolitan area at NPO Central. (Marion’s note: See me there too!)
Visit Sue Caruson Green's NPO Central to Find Nonprofit Consultants in NY/NJ Area

Use Technology More Efficiently and Cost-effectively John Kenyon
One for me would be "Use Technology more efficiently and cost-effectively". Of course, one way to do that would be to take my NTEN Technology Leadership webinars. more info: You can find out more about this NTEN Technology Leadership Series at:
NTEN Technology Leadership Series with Courses by John Kenyon, Beth Kanter and Robert Weiner - Wow!

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