The 4 Key Elements of Nonprofit New Year’s Resolutions


As 2019 comes to a close, you’re likely thinking about all of the good that your nonprofit did in your community over the past year, all that is possible for your organization in 2020 and the amount of fundraising you’ll need to do to achieve it. 

The question is then: how do you ensure that you set goals that your nonprofit can meet or exceed?

Setting an attainable fundraising goal is about more than simply willing it to happen. It means taking a holistic look at your past results and assessing how you can make incremental improvements in the coming year. 

Think of it as a New Year’s Resolution for your nonprofit. 

Just like with personal resolutions, you want to set yourself up for success and achieve your goals. Here are the 4 key elements of an attainable New Year’s Resolution for your organization and how one small nonprofit used them to set their own achievable resolutions!

1. Relevant: Resolutions should be relevant to the mission and life-cycle stage of your nonprofit.

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Julie founded a nonprofit 3 years ago with the mission of promoting awareness of a rare form of cancer. For the past three years, they have increased fundraising revenues 10% year-over-year, but, by the end of 2019 she is projecting a 2% increase over 2018 for a total amount raised of $385,000. She wants to continue to grow revenue, but they had reached the limits of their current donor base’s giving capacity. 

So, when starting her resolution setting process, Julie considered only those ideas that were in line with their mission of increasing awareness of a rare type of cancer and took the life-cycle stage (start-up) of their nonprofit into account.

2. Incremental: Resolutions should incrementally build on successes.

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While Julie was setting her organization’s resolutions, one of her board members saw that a more mature cancer research nonprofit in the community has an annual goal of $2 million and suggested that Julie should set a similar goal for their smaller, younger organization. 

The goal of $2 million would mean a 419% increase year-over-year for their organization. It would also mean that with their average gift size of $148, they would need close to 11,000 new donors to raise $2 million! If they set such a high goal for their organization, there would be no way they would be able to meet it. Only 1,800 people get diagnosed with this type of cancer each year. Instead Julie looked at their past successes to develop resolutions that would allow their organization to grow more sustainably.

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3. Specific: Resolutions should be clear and have definable parameters for success.

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After much thought and analysis, Julie and her board landed on the following for their organization’s goals for 2020: 

  • Increase followers on all social media channels 
  • Partner with at least 2 community organizations to host awareness events
  • Use MobileCause’s peer-to-peer platform for their fall campaign to help amplify their message and introduce new donors to their nonprofit
  • Create and implement a stewardship plan 

Some of Julie’s board member’s expressed concern that none of the goals were monetary. But, Julie adeptly addressed their concerns. Theirs was a newer organization, with consistent fundraising gains despite their small donor base. If they took specific action to incrementally build on their past fundraising successes, increase the awareness of their organization and the good that they were doing in the community, they would then continue to see an increase in their fundraising revenues. Therefore, a monetary resolution seemed unnecessary. 

4. Measurable: Resolutions should define a quantifiable impact.

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To make sure her organization was meeting the resolutions that they set out, Julie made sure to set definable and measurable objectives for each resolution by which they could measure their success.

For their resolution to increase followers on all social media channels, they decided to strategically increase their organization’s followers on Facebook by 10% and Instagram by 5%. They would also create specific forms and keywords in MobileCause for their social channels and track the number of donations they get through social media as a way to measure engagement.

For their peer-to-peer campaign resolution, she knew the average peer-to-peer fundraiser brings 7 new donors into an organization with an average gift of $100. She believed that they could recruit 25 fundraisers, with their upcoming 2020 peer-to-peer campaign goals being:

  • 175 New Donors
  • $17,500 total funds raised

After setting measurable resolutions for her organization, Julie felt confident and empowered to make a difference for the people that her organization serves in 2020.

If you take the time to set meaningful, measurable and attainable resolutions for your organization now, you can enter the New Year with confidence in your ability to not only grow your nonprofit, but also the impact you have on your beneficiaries and community.

Leah Libolt
Senior Digital Fundraising Strategist


Our goal at MobileCause is to help nonprofit organizations create and manage successful digital fundraising campaigns, raise more money and retain donors longer. Request a free demo with one of our fundraising experts to learn, step by step, how MobileCause can simply help set up your campaigns while transforming your results.

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