How early is too early? If we’re talking about seeing garlands and snowmen on store shelves weeks before trick-or-treating begins, as we did last week, one could argue that it’s way too early. But, if we’re talking about nonprofits getting ready for 2019, it’s definitely not too early to plan. In that spirit, this month’s edition of Nonprofit Knowledge Matters focuses on planning in three key areas: fundraising, communications, and board development. You can find resources on other types of planning that nonprofits with calendar fiscal years typically do about this time of year, including strategic planning and budgeting, on our website.
Individual giving is a significant component of many nonprofits’ revenue plans. Some recent reports indicate that, so far, charitable giving has decreased in 2018. But the year is not over yet – and broader sector trends don’t necessarily predict the experience of any individual nonprofit. To be successful, nonprofits need ongoing, year-round plans for donor engagement. Always remember that people give not because of tax incentives, but because they believe in your nonprofit’s mission.
News media and social media are powerful channels for spreading the word about your nonprofit’s work and impact. But during these tumultuous times, it can be difficult to put together detailed plans when external events can instantaneously divert our audience's attention. It’s also a huge challenge to be heard above all the noise. Fortunately, there are ways to plan core elements of communications strategy and timing to elevate your nonprofit’s message, while leaving room to respond to the unpredictable.
Board members play many vital roles for nonprofits. They set the direction for your organization. They hire and evaluate the executive. They are champions for your organization in the community and advocates for your mission. And, of course, they have the important fiduciary role. So, it pays to plan ahead, identifying and cultivating future board members to take over as terms come to an end. In recruiting new members, organizations need to think about not just the make-up of their boards, but also who will fill the important role of chair.
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