New Year’s Resolutions from Philanthropic Leaders

3 Jan

I came across a thought-provoking segment in The Chronicle of Philanthropy which shared some New Year’s resolutions of the top leaders and thinkers in the philanthropy world. From Darian Rodriguez Heyman, author of Nonprofit Management 101 to Jeff Raikes, president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, here are some goals and strategies that these men and women have brainstormed for the non-profit think tanks in 2012.

To collaborate or not to collaborate, that seems to be the question in the upcoming year. As one of the major themes of 2011, many leaders are agreeing that joining together for a common mission saves time, money and energy. “Donors are not going to continue supporting the massive amount of duplication and waste that our sector has generated over the past few decades. The nonprofit world should resolve to establish formal collaborations between complementary organizations that can increase both the efficiency and impact of each partner agency,” states Jeremy Gregg, executive director, the PLAN Fund, a Dallas microfinance group.

Jeff Raikes, president, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation agrees with Gregg and adds “Not only do we need to share more about our strategies and what we’re learning, but we need to listen more. We should agree to work together as a sector to accelerate progress on measuring the impact of our work and using the results to make our work better. Together we can learn to use measurement, information, and data to continually improve our efforts to accelerate the change in the world we all seek.”

The second theme seems to be to change the way we think and base upcoming decisions on new data. Susan Raymond, executive vice president of the consulting company Changing Our World comments, “The nonprofit and enterprise worlds are blending. Therefore, turn your thinking upside down and begin to think as though you operate in the competitive market because, increasingly, you do. Think first about what people want and what they expect, and only second about what you want to provide them.” Amy Sample Ward, membership director, Nonprofit Technology Network somewhat expands on this idea combined with supporting collaboration by stating, “Not only do I see more organizations looking for ways to be data-driven in decision making, communications, campaigning, and marketing, but also a growing interest and understanding of the value in sharing data. Just as we want to be data-driven inside our organizations, the more we share our data with each other, the more data-driven we can be in our work collectively.”

A third idea that resonates is to use technology to its potential. “2012 must mark the year we get in front of technology, instead of behind it. Let’s resolve to unleash the full potential of social media and Internet marketing for fundraising, community organizing, and advocacy,” suggests Darian Rodriguez Heyman, author of Nonprofit Management 101. An easy way to start on this path is to let Fundly come beside your organization to create a easy and accessible link between social media and your non-profit.

The times are changing and New Years seems to be the best day on the calendar to implement new strategies and thought patterns. Make this be the best year your charity has ever seen!

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