Happy New Year

Robin Noah

When I wished a friend who is an Executive Director for a nonprofit a “Happy New Year” she said “I prefer a prosperous New Year in all ways. That resonates a lot better than          a plain Happy New Year.”  She then went on to say “My new year’s resolutions are for my organization to thrive, to flourish, to be successful, to be on the plus side financially and to successfully meet our mission. So I better take a look at the ways and means for achieving my goals in the New Year. Those are my resolutions.”

Are you one of the leaders that say This year – we’re going to be better, we’re going to change and do things differently”.  How does this come about?  Will your resolution this year be that you are going to overcome the odds and redirect them in your favor? What will be your approach? Will you map out a plan that will take you to your goals? If yes, then I have a recommendation:  Go for the Holy Grail of funding – profitable growth. Although measuring success encompasses a variety of activities growth affects the operation in total. Consider that

  • Growth generates energy and enthusiasm: It attracts the best talent, best volunteers and response from clients and community your serve.
  • Growth & Innovation: Sustains your organization now and in the future contributing to the efficiency of the organization
  • If your organization is not growing, it’s in decline: You need to take the steps necessary to change from down to up.

A key period in time to reflect is at the beginning of a New Year.

 Once you are committed to making changes, to meet your resolutions, the following activity will generate growth.  You need to do several things: a) Start with review of your business’ previous year’s performance and b) Define your top growth priorities?  

Ask the critical questions :

  • Were income and funding targets achieved? Is there a message in the results?
  • Have your clients’ needs and desires changed? Often times the services you are offering are not keeping up with the needs of the clients.
  • Is your mission in line with your purpose?  Sometimes a mission statement needs to be revitalized…to be more representative of the organization’s services.
  • Where funding and income is flat, what will you do to fix the problems? Evaluate and improve your marketing and funding operationsRebalance your budget. Refocus on what needs to occur to achieve your growth priorities.
  • Identify the most important trends in your area of service and/or the community you serve? Take a hard look at the changing needs of your clients and the trends in the markets/community your organization services
  • How do these trends create immediate opportunities to grow? Use this intelligence to find opportunities, particularly ones that allow you to compete for donor dollars or to introduce some social enterprise activity.
  • What do you hope to achieve in the current year and beyond? Here is the tough spot. Choose 3 major actions that must be taken to achieve the resolutions you made. You need to clearly define the expected result. .

 This is only the beginning. Get a buy in from your board, your staff and volunteers. Keep everyone focused on these actions and maintain an ongoing measuring stick that is shared with all.

Author: Robin Noah, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org