Five Things That May Not Be "Urgent", But Are Important

You are a nonprofit professional – overworked  in an understaffed environment. You may feel like you are going crazy  trying to get everything done.  You are dealing with urgent, short-term items, but are you overlooking some important ones?   No matter how busy you are, here are five things you or your organization needs to do.

You need to plan
For all of your initiatives – program, marketing, fundraising, etc, you need a plan.  I’m not even talking about a strategic plan, which you should have as well.  Each year you need to make a plan with goals and objectives.  Every quarter you should be tracking your progress (see second item). You may find that you need to make changes to your plan, which is understandable.  Yes, this takes time, but it’s time well spent.

You need to keep track of your progress
On a regular basis, you should be keeping track of  your accomplishments. Don’t wait until a funder requests this.  You should also keep track of your progress in conjunction with your plans (see first item). Document everything and make sure it’s accessible in the future.

You need to thank your donors
You’ve worked hard on your annual appeal and now the money is coming in.  Don’t stop there – you need to thank your donors.  Set aside a time each day (or every other day) to write thank you notes to your donors.  If possible, add a personal note or have your board members call donors to thank them.

You need to be consistent
Consistency is key.  All of your messaging, marketing materials, etc. need to be consistent.  When your staff and board are talking about your organization, is everyone conveying the same message?  Take time at your next staff and board meetings to make sure everyone is on the same page.  Also, make sure that new staff, board members, and volunteers are well oriented to your organization and its mission.

You need to take care of  yourself
Finally, you are working really hard.  Don’t forget to take time to care of yourself.  Be sure to take a lunch break (and if possible, don’t eat at your desk).  Make sure you are well-hydrated and give yourself opportunities to walk or stretch.  If things get really crazy, go take a walk, or even give yourself a mental health day.

I’ll be going into more detail about some of these in future posts.
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