January, 2016. Traditionally, this is the time of year when many of us write up, or at least mentally note, resolutions that will make us better humans in the coming year. My list typically includes promises to work out more frequently, eat more healthily, read more….that kind of stuff. It’s also an ideal time for us to consider actions that will help our nonprofit organizations flourish.
Much like a list of resolutions, I find that checklists can be easy tools for keeping me on task and, in some cases, offer objective evaluations. Those little check boxes don’t provide much room for explanation or excuses…just enough space for a check mark!
Checklists are also excellent motivational tools. They help us identify and quantify accomplishments and successes. And, as you probably know, positive reinforcement of jobs already well done can go a long way in the morale department.
Since many of us who work at nonprofit organizations find ourselves multi-tasking, we always run the risk of letting little details fall through the cracks – or the possibility that someone may “drop the ball.” The beauty of checklists are their simplicity; at once keeping us honest, accountable and organized.
Here are some of the best checklists I’ve come across that can help guide us in 2016.
- Volunteer Victories
Volunteers are the lifeblood of many organizations. They provide (wo)manpower at events, help many of us actually run our programs, and many are also donors. Making sure that our volunteers are properly appreciated, prepared, and welcomed makes our organizations better all around. This checklist can help make onboarding and ongoing work easier.
- Events Made Easy(-ier)
Planning a gala or a run/walk/ride or an auction? In any case, there will be a lot of small details that will need to be addressed—and over a rather expansive timeline. This checklist from Wild Apricot will help you keep it all in order– and makes delegating even easier.
- Social Media Content
Social media isn’t the only way for an organization to communicate with members or grow its outreach, but it can be an incredibly effective method since it has become part of our everyday lives. Social media channels allow us access to people we didn’t have access to before and personal introductions to new potential donors and talent by the very people who have ties to our organization already. But, social media efforts are different than traditional campaigns—and should be approached differently. This checklist will help you make sure your content is Social Media Ready.
- Productive Meetings (Finally)
One of my most popular Facebook Posts for Top Nonprofits featured this meme:
It’s no wonder, because we have all been in THOSE meetings. You know, THOSE meetings which didn’t have a real purpose. Want to have a happier staff? Make your meetings more productive. In this post on productive meetings, Beth Kanter includes some helpful advice and a terrific checklist that puts it all on the table for you.
- Becoming More Transparent
Successful organizations have realized that transparency is desirable among their donors, staff, volunteers, client and boards and have improved upon being more transparent. Further, studies focusing on giving habits of younger generations (i.e., Millennials , Generation Z) consistently list “Transparency” as an incredibly important characteristic. How can you help make your nonprofit more transparent? This list of steps will help you get it there.
I hope that these will prove useful to you in 2016 and invite you to share your experiences. Have a checklist that you would like to share? We’d love to know.
Amy DeVita is a publisher, entrepreneur, mother, wife, social media enthusiast and fan and avid supporter of the do-gooders in the nonprofit/ for-impact sector. She has written for Top Nonprofits and Third Sector Today; she has been quoted on pieces about social media and social impact on The Huffington Post and The Daily Beast. She was named to the Leading Women Entrepreneurs in NJ Monthly and she is a member of Social Media for Nonprofits’ Leadership Council. In her spare time she enjoys kayaking, yoga, hiking, traveling, and playing Scrabble. Amy lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children, and two dogs. In 1984 she earned the “Most Improved Average” honor on her bowling league.