Ten for Twenty Eleven
As you look toward the New Year, our team at OneAccord NFP wants to encourage and equip you to embrace it with an attitude of abundance! In my own life, I often use a frame work that gives me perspective in time and space…in particular, the past, present and future. Allow me to share ten areas of focus that should make your year – and those to follow – more rich and abundant in your personal and professional life!
Clean up the Past
- Develop and Launch a Plan to Clean up any outstanding Debt – Sometimes this may take more than one year, but if you don’t have a plan and commitment to move in that direction your organization may forever be saddled with the burden that inhibits your ability to bless others. While debt related to appreciating assets (like real estate) may work, examine the root of any symptoms of other debt that indicate problems with your organizational health.
- Identify relational breaches at home or with staff, donors, clients, board members, neighbors or agency peers…and commit to reconcile this year! - This, too, is actually a form of “debt” or obligation that needs resolution. Throughout scripture, we are directed to make amends whenever one has something against us or we hold something against another. Nonprofit (as well as for-profit) organizations are fundamentally purposed to draw people of like values into community. The internet has given us the ability to build up or tear down that community at a faster rate than ever before! Consequently, it is critical that your organization know the state of relationships within each sector at all times. Some even refer to “social equity” as the valuation of your organizational or personal reputation within society. The ability to sustain a ministry or charity is directly related to the public’s support of the leadership and management who carry out the mission. If relationships are damaged (in any sector) that capacity is diminished. In all humility, it is helpful to simply ask those within your community if there are areas that need improvement or correction.
- Get rid of guilt, regret or garbage. – Many of us can have a tendency to hang on to things we really should get rid of. That to which you are still holding on is holding you back. Go through your mind, your office, your emotions, your board minutes or wherever you are “storing” things that are now in the past. Don’t take them with you into 2011 if they won’t help you achieve your goals and fulfill your agency or ministry dreams.
Abide in the Present
- Wherever you are…..Be There! - I coined this phrase some years ago to remind me to be emotionally and physically “present” whenever I was with others. In my childhood, this could have been the proverbial father who was more engaged with the newspaper than the family. This is even more important today as so many of us are connected with those present elsewhere by way of our mobile devices. Whatever is distracting you or keeping you from being fully engaged is limiting your influence and potential. When others are expecting your mind and emotions to follow your body, silence your phone and fully engage with those around you!
- Self-Care & Self-Improvement – If you are in a leadership role, the care of your self and your staff is critical. As you venture into the New Year, create a plan to make the people in your life and organization more sustainable, competent, and professional. You have an important job to do, and we need you around for a long time to come!
- Be more proactive and responsive than reactive – This should go without saying, for those in leadership, but many of us allow others to take the initiative. When that occurs, we can only follow with a response or reaction (which is following, not leading). Additionally, a “response” is thoughtful and appropriate while a “reaction” is typically impulsive and emotional. Whether you are leading or following, consider your professional relationships and behavior in a proactive manner as you tackle the challenges of this year.
- Know what’s going on around you – In like manner, those in leadership (or aspiring to serve in leadership) must have access to reports and relationships that provide objective and subjective feedback or metrics about the world they influence or manage. So often, when we partner with a client organization we find that the leadership is lacking organizational or personal self-awareness. Be intentional about measuring and “knowing” how you are performing against your mission, how others view your service, and what evidence there is that you are being “successful.”
Embrace the Future
- Build a Community of Donors – Regardless of what your business model looks like, there are people who care for the same things you do! It would be wise to bring them with you into the future because without the support of others who will invest their time, wisdom, reputation & influence, relationships, assets or dollars…there will be no future.
- Plan to Offer Gift Planning – I began my formal nonprofit career as a Director of Gift Planning nearly 25 years ago. Even then, many were forecasting the pending and immense transfer of wealth. This wave is only growing, and it is good stewardship of your organizational future to be sure that your supporters are aware of and encouraged to include you in their estate plans. Ironically, even those donors with long histories and strong relationships with agencies and ministries don’t often include an organization in their will if the organization never suggested they do so! Make a commitment today to launch a legacy-based gift planning program to serve your donors who already consider you “family,” but haven’t been invited to name you in their plans.
- Bring Online Upstream – There are so many ways in which you can begin to participate in the world that is increasingly internet resident. Your ministry needs an online presence because your donors are present online!
To sum it all up, the Principals of OneAccord NFP encourage you to Embrace, Cast and Execute a huge vision as we step into this next decade. So many are depending on you to bring them hope and opportunity in measures they don’t have today. Be true to your calling. Only you can do what you’re called to do in the manner in which you do it!