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Nonprofit Daze: Being Resolute

by. Stephanie Meincke, President and CEO


It’s that time of year again. The time that half of us embrace and the other half runs from – making New Year’s resolutions. An activity that is not for the faint-hearted among us. Years ago, I was an avid resolution maker. Hope sprang eternal, all good things were poised to happen and then…you know the end of the story. Life has a way of putting obstacles in your way that make it very easy to throw your hands in the air and get back to business as you have always known it.

I think resolutions get a bad rap, though. The naysayers think they are pointless. The discouraged think of them as the source of their discontent. If viewed from a more forgiving perspective, they can have enormous power to shape our work, our relationships, our outcomes, and our sense of well-being in large and small ways, if we persevere. Resolutions have power just in the making of them. They are a gift you can give yourself at the beginning of the year – a moment of reflection, of resolve, of hope for the possibilities. The wise know the true power of resolutions is in CREATING them, not necessarily in the relentless pursuit of accomplishing them. Have you ever noticed that in just thinking of something you find you naturally gravitate to opportunities that fulfill those “resolutions”?

So, in the spirit of laid-back, no pressure resolutions, here are a few to consider:

10. Don’t just make personal resolutions- make resolutions for your nonprofit.

9. Recommit yourself to the civic mission of nonprofits. There is a lot of work to be done to help make the world a better place. We’re going to need you more than ever.

8. Find one project that you can collaborate on with a partner that will get bigger, better results for those that you both serve.

7. Use your data to tell your story – If I called your nonprofit today, could you get me to really see and understand your mission and your impact? Don’t have any data? Go back to Square 1 and get it done.

6. Be a good neighbor. Engage your nonprofit in the community. Engage your community in your nonprofit. That is, engage them with your mission.

5. Get creative – with yourself, your staff, your board, your partners. Don’t ask ME about what or how – everybody’s creative is an individual thing.

4. Develop an innovative process that saves time and provides more value to your work. At ANA, we have a hard time keeping up with the many great articles and thought knowledge that comes our way. We’ve developed the “ReadingCircle.” Each staff person gets a publication to cull for great articles on issues impacting nonprofits. The staff presents its articles at a staff meeting for discussion. Those that want to read more about it can hone in on those most important to them and their work.

3. Plan to plan - and think and reflect. Be intentional, thoughtful and entirely free in allowing your mind to be creative in providing you with ideas, strategies, solutions and directions for the important work you do. We keep Friday afternoons open for this. It’s really helps us focus on next week’s work with purpose. The only way we’ll get control of our schedules and the pace of our work lives is to TAKE control and incorporate what is important, not always what is emergent.

2. (Re)Join. Learn. Connect. Act. With ANA in 2017. Truthfully, we wanted to put this one FIRST, but realized that #1 should be –

1. Take care of YOU – how many times have you heard it? How many times have you ignored it? New buzzphrase – Be selfish. After all, how can you do all the other 9 resolutions and keep your nonprofit healthy in 2017?

Happy New Year from all of us at the Arkansas Nonprofit Alliance! We resolve to be here to support you in all that we can, and look forward to your support as well.

P.S. Would love to hear YOUR resolutions for 2017 AND whether you fulfilled your resolutions from 2016 if you made them!

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