8 New Year’s Resolutions for Nonprofit Professionals
The start of a new year is a great time for nonprofits to review their current performance and set exciting goals for the future. Setting personal or team resolutions can be highly motivational, helping you make the most of the coming year. Here are some ideas to consider adding to your professional resolutions list.
1. Grow your personal network
Learn from your peers this year by resolving to get to know other nonprofit professionals. As the sector evolves, growing your network can help you stay attuned to new perspectives and ways of doing things that you might not have thought of alone.
You can find plenty of opportunities to connect at industry conferences or networking events, but you can also identify people you admire on LinkedIn and send a connection request to get the conversation started. Connections don’t need to be working toward the same cause that you are to be a valuable, insightful addition to your network, though if they are, you may even be able to forge a partnership between your organizations.
2. Minimize social media scrolling
Many nonprofit professionals need to interact with social media to stay informed and engaged, but it’s all too easy to fall down a rabbit hole of posts. If your phone’s screen time report is getting you down, using an RSS feed is a great way to cut down on social media consumption, while making sure that you don’t miss important updates.
With an RSS feed, you can find all the new posts that you might be looking for, all in one place. There are many reader apps available that offer a variety of ways to view content updates, all with the goal of customizing your news feed to suit your needs.
3. Engage more online
While you may be looking to cut down on your personal social media consumption, boosting engagement with your nonprofit’s accounts is a worthy professional resolution.
If you’re responsible for handling your organization’s social media efforts, why not set a goal of responding to more comments, messages, and mentions? This will show your followers that you care about their perspectives and want to have a conversation with them. But whatever your role, you can amplify your nonprofit’s social media presence by acting as an ambassador for your brand. This could include commenting on posts from your organization to ensure they show up in your followers’ feeds, or even creating your own content related to your nonprofit, like posting about work anniversaries or sharing team photos.
4. Thank your donors in new and meaningful ways
You value your donors, but is there more that your nonprofit could do to let them know they’ve made an impact? Starting the new year with this question in mind can help you identify new ways to show your donors they’re valued and encourage repeat interactions.
If possible, take the time to call your first-time donors or send a personalized thank-you note. For existing donors, consider sharing a regular newsletter with updates about your nonprofit’s work to let them know where their money is going. As with any other relationship, the more you tend to it, the longer it will last, so stay on the lookout for opportunities beyond a mass thank-you email to keep your donors engaged.
5. Read more books related to your field
A common New Year’s resolution is to read more books. If you’re planning a trip to the library, consider adding some nonprofit-related reads to your list.
Doing so can help you bring new ideas to the table in meetings and brainstorming sessions, but it can also help you grow your nonprofit career. There are a wealth of books written by nonprofit leaders that may be valuable as you consider where you want to go and the best path forward. Having a good book on your nightstand can also provide a conversation starter if you’re aiming to do more networking this year.
6. Schedule check-ins with coworkers
When you’re busy or working remotely, it can be easy to go days or even weeks without talking to some coworkers. Resolving to check in more often in the months ahead can help you reaffirm strong team bonds and stay up to date with what different team members are working on.
This is an especially useful resolution for managers, since 2021 was a difficult year for many people and some employees may need a little extra support right now. Even a 15-minute coffee chat may surface opportunities to provide additional help where needed between more formal one-on-ones.
7. Meet your board members
You might have detected that there’s a networking theme in this list, and that’s because you really can’t meet enough new people in the nonprofit sector. If there are board members you haven't spoken to outside of formal meetings, now might be a good time to personally introduce yourself and connect with them on LinkedIn.
Depending on the dynamics of your organization and board, your board members may be open to getting more involved with your team and letting you pick their brain on subjects that they understand best. Higher involvement can lead to more engaged board members—and more wins for your nonprofit.
8. Set boundaries and try to stick to them
When the work is meaningful and the pressure is high, you may find it harder to justify switching off at the end of the work day. But if you’re not managing your own energy levels, you can very easily burn out.
Balance is key, and that comes with setting limits around your work. Some ground rules could include “no work emails on the weekend” or “no calls after I pick up my kids from school.” It’s okay if you break your own rules every once in a while, but treating goals around boundaries the same way you would treat goals set by your manager can help you stick to them more often than not.
Does your nonprofit team have any big New Year’s resolutions for 2022? Join our LinkedIn for Nonprofits community and let us know!