This New Year’s Resolution Will Change Your Nonprofit

There’s one important resolution your nonprofit needs to make this year.

But more importantly, this resolution starts with YOU, enthusiastic nonprofit professional. The great news is you don’t need the board’s approval to get started.

So in the coming weeks, make sure to gather around the dinner table. Open gifts. Watch movies. Overeat without shame.

Sing cheesy songs. Drink hot cocoa. Make sure the kids put their discarded gift wrap in the trash bag that you pass around.

Let’s first make the holiday and the post-holiday slump an amazing, beautiful time of reflection. Just getting away from it all, looking back and appreciating the ways you’ve been blessed.

But then, look forward at a new year and figuring out how to make the most of those gifts – and how to use them to bless others.

Your resolution?

Your New Year’s Resolution: Pick Something to Stop Doing

That’s right: your resolution isn’t to add more to your plate, your to-do list or your already-overstuffed agenda.

Cross off a pointless meeting. Stop stressing about a grant. Do one less event.

Pick one thing to stop doing.

The secret is that doing one thing less isn’t a decision to compromise. Instead, it’s a deliberate choice to push yourself FURTHER… by focusing on what truly matters.

The Nonprofit Lie: “We Need More Time/More Money/More People!”

When I visit a website like Nonprofit Hub, my first reaction is thrilled excitement.

“Yes! The formula to success! If I follow these instructions, I can raise more money, be less stressed and make the world a better place! I just have to do all the things!”

But this joy is quickly trailed by a sense of dread. Article after article is a rebuke. I’m not doing enough. My email subject lines aren’t performing well. Our team cohesion isn’t great. The board is uninspired.

Here’s the lie we tell ourselves:

“If only we had more money! More resources. More people volunteering. THEN we’d be able to do it all.”

Of course, once you believe that, you’ll never stop believing it. Trust me, you’re not alone: we all think that we need more time, more money or resources (and not just in our professional lives).

But really, we don’t need more time. Everyone has the same amount of hours in the day.

What we really need is to do LESS, so we can absolutely knock out the few truly important things, with relish and energy, every day.

Once you focus on the most important things for your nonprofit (and your specific job there), you’ll magically find you DO have enough time.

Just not enough to throw that extra event (run the numbers – it won’t make much money anyway).

Focus On the HUGE Wins—and Toss Out the Mindless Checklist

When I talk to fundraisers, the mantra is always the same: there’s too much to do. Especially when it comes to those frivolous luxuries Marc loves talking about, like starting a nonprofit blog, investing in nonprofit marketing or taking time to thank your donors incessantly.

And the grumpy fundraisers are right! If you do an amazing job at just those three things listed above, you will definitely have less time for all your other ideas.

You’ll have to sacrifice some of those events. Or cut those last-minute, big-idea distractions that waste your time. Skip the hours spent in throwaway meetings.

But magically, you’ll find out that most of those things didn’t need to happen in the first place.

The Power of Saying No to the Right Things

Nonprofits don’t starve. They drown.

We don’t need more resources (though of course, that’d be nice) – we need to learn to focus on the huge victories instead.

Then, when we do get more resources, we will already be used to using that money responsibly to grow and change the world even faster.

This holiday season and beyond, let’s resolve to find one thing to stop doing.

And then, with that time-and-energy suck put behind us, we can focus on what really matters.

Loving our donors and making a positive dent in the universe.

Doing remarkable work that matters.

Sound good to you too?

The New Year’s resolution to change your nonprofit: pick one thing to stop doing.

Because sometimes accomplishing more starts with doing less.

What’s your resolution – your one thing to STOP doing this year? What REALLY matters and would be a huge win for your organization this coming quarter? Share in the comments below – and I wish you happy holidays!


Marc Koenig

Marc Koenig is a regular contributor of Nonprofit Hub. Marc believes smart, ethical marketing can make the world a better place, and strives to create content that helps nonprofits tell better stories, push their organizations to excel and do work that matters. You'll find him writing Nonprofit Hub featured posts, brainstorming infographics and tweeting up a storm at @npmarc - follow him and say hi!

December 16, 2013

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