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Adopt these 2019 resolutions for nonprofits, foundations and donors

New Year's resolutions. January 3, 2019 Category: ColumnFeaturedMediumMethod

Tivoni Devor’s “Getting Good Done” column focuses on new models of enacting impact.


It’s January — aka resolution time.

While the gym might be crowded this month and empty in February, I have a few resolution suggestions for the sector that we should stick to.

For nonprofits

  1. Merge with another nonprofit — There are thousands of nonprofits in Philadelphia, there are probably a handful that are very similar to yours. I bet there are one or two that your organization always gets confused for. Reach out to the locally based Nonprofit Repositioning Fund: If you can find a possible merger partner, you can get a grant that will cover the exploratory and execution cost of merging. It will cost you little but save you a lot as you will gain efficiencies of scale and drive down your operational costs.
  2. Give your staff a raise — Even a small raise will help you fight burnout and turnover. Take a moment and calculate the costs associated with employee turnover: These are unbudgeted costs that also harm your organization’s productivity and outcomes. Once you fully understand the cost of losing staff, you will find it cheaper to pay them a little more.
  3. Diversify your board — It’s 2019 right? Nonprofit boards still have major diversity issues. You can reach out to Philly-based consulting firm DiverseForce directly for help finding leaders of color. You should also look to recruit at least one board member under 30 — look to Young Involved Philadelphia’s board prep program for help — and one board member from the population your organization serves.

For foundations (similar stuff)

  1. Merge with another foundation — Especially if you give out small grants that require as much work to apply for and report on as larger grants. It’s all about impact, right? 🙂
  2. Fund open data, tools and tech that can be shared with all nonprofits — Most orgs’ tech infrastructure is falling apart or they have enough duct tape to keep it together for another year. Help them move to the cloud, to open source services that help them keep up with the times.
  3. As I repeat: Diversify your board — Foundation boards have major diversity issues, too. Follow the above advice to make greater impact (and facilitate more trust) in the community you’re trying to serve.

For individual donors and companies

  1. Give a small amount monthly as opposed to one large gift at the end of the year — Nonprofits would rather get consistent donations they can rely on and don’t require a lot of time, energy and money than to have to get your attention a few times a year. Set it and forget it.
  2. Buy from nonprofits — Many orgs have services and products you can buy, and more and more nonprofits are launching social enterprises that give them unrestricted revenue. For example: You can hire the kids from Coded by Kids or Hopeworks Camden to code your next website.
  3. Fundraise for themFacebook has made it easier than ever for anybody to raise money for their favorite nonprofit. Most common is the birthday fundraiser (Facebook will even kick in $5 on these). While it’s cool to donate to some money your favorite nonprofit, what’s really cool is doubling your annual gift by tapping your network.

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