Tips and Ideas to End Your Year Strong

Giving thanks, holiday lights, baking and gift shopping… these are just a few of the things this time of year brings (not to mention stress!).  It also brings with it year-end fundraising campaigns, wrapping up unfinished projects, and making plans for what’s to come.

As you look towards the end of the year and what that means for your nonprofit, we thought we’d share some tips and ideas to end your year well and start the new year off right!

This is a great time to gather as a group (staff and board!) to do a few things:

  • Year-end Fundraising.  Ideally, you will have planned for your year-end fundraising campaign long before November.  But just in case, this blog has some great ideas for that all-important year-end ask.
  • Assess your effectiveness.  As a board, as a staff and as an organization, take time to reflect on the past year.  What have you done well?  What could you have done better?  What’s working well as a team? How is the board and Executive Director partnership, and are there areas for improvement? Assessing your effectiveness can provide crucial insights as you begin planning for the coming year.
  • Celebrate!  Take time to celebrate your accomplishments this year.  Celebrate what went well and the progress you’ve made.  It’s so important to take time for this step.  Celebrating the wins, even the small ones, is vital to help your organization move forward and to keep up morale.
  • Strategic Planning.  In addition to assessing effectiveness, this is often a great time of year to look ahead to where you want to go. Do you have a current strategic plan? Does it need to be updated with new or revised goals? How are you going to ensure the plan stays “alive” and doesn’t end up on the bookshelf?
  • Budget.  For those operating on a calendar year, it’s also budget time (sorry if this made you break out into a cold sweat). Be sure your budget reflects your strategic priorities and plans. Without a solid plan in place, budgeting becomes a guessing game rather than an informed projection.
  • Year-end Reporting/Compliance.  Make sure that your organization is prepared for any year end reporting you need to do.  If you operate on a calendar year, final 990s for the year will be due in no time.  You’ll also want to make sure that you are compliant with state regulatory agencies as well.  Have you filed your annual list of officers?  Have there been any changes?  Are there any outstanding board requirements that need to be completed?  Ensure that your organization has crossed all its T’s and dotted all its I’s, so that you can move into the coming year knowing the organization is on solid ground.

Finally, as we approach Thanksgiving and that time of year when we reflect on what we’re grateful for, we’d like to make sure you know how very grateful we are for you and all you do for the communities you serve. You are our heroes, and we thank you for inspiring us every day.

Now let’s finish 2019 strong before we toast in a new year and new decade!