It’s the start of a brand new year, and you probably have a laundry list of goals that you want to get completed, some policies you might want to change, and things that will make your nonprofit more efficient. With all the resolutions and changes you want to implement this year, the most important one is so far beyond your radar it’ll sound appalling when you first hear, but perfect once you understand it.
*trumpet fanfare* 2016 New Year’s Resolution: Do Less
You read that correct – absolutely!
Now we’re not talking about becoming lethargic (as if anyone in the nonprofit community knows of being lethargic) – to “do less” means to focus only on the most important tasks. Scratch off anything that comes across small in the grand scheme of things – a trivial meeting, a less-than-stellar grant, or a minimal event.
You may have a great idea for an event or something, or your whole staff has no problem coming up with ideas to raise money. But when the execution of these ideas falls flat, we claim lack of money, resources, or time when actually it’s the fact that everyone was spread out too thin.
If each person on your staff focused their time, energy, and resources towards the most essential things your nonprofit needs, you’ll find that the efficient means are there – just maybe not enough for an extra fundraiser, grant proposal, or a team pow-wow.
Sacrifice is the name of the game, but it can yield some amazing results. Anything that is last-minute shouldn’t even remain on your scope because if it was something essential to the life of the nonprofit, it wouldn’t be a last-minute thing to get done.
With so much to do, how can I do less?
Let’s take fundraising, for example. Every month, or however often, your organization attempts to bring in donations by having an event. As soon as one is done, resources are channeled towards the next one. Instead, let’s invest a significant amount of effort towards properly thanking those who have donated before. Why? To have them donate regularly, thus having to fundraise less.
Do you find yourself trying to score every grant that shows up? You can either put in the sufficient effort towards one large grant, or aim for many small grants that don’t require much effort, but can add up closely to a large grant.
Be progressive. You don’t have to drop many things at once. Start with just one thing to completely stop doing, and as time goes on, drop another thing if possible. “Less is more,” as the saying goes, and by focusing on the “major” goals instead of “every” goal, you’ll notice your nonprofit accomplish more of the work that matters most.
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