Some Guiding Principles for Your 2012 Goals

At my blog,  Marion Conway – Nonprofit Consultant,  I have just posted my annual list of resolutions for nonprofit leaders with recommendations from seven nonprofit experts.  This is the fourth year that I have prepared such a post and it is interesting to see the tone being set at the beginning of each year.   This year I’d say the tone is clearly  “Be the best you can be.”   It is upbeat and forward looking  – very encouraging.  Every year I am amazed by the breadth of the wisdom offered from the philosophical to the down to earth practical.  And this year, the ideas seem to have a certain punch and bounce that makes you want to connect with them.

This blog post is a companion piece to the resolutions post which has been very popular.   It is not intended to be a list of goals that you can cut and paste into your 2012 objectives.  Rather, it provides some guiding principles and things to think about when you are forming your specific goals for 2012.  At Marion Conway-Nonprofit Consultant you can see the exact words of wisdom offered by each contributor.  The nonprofit expert contributors this year are Anne Ackerson, Susan DetweilerJay Frost, Pamela Grow, Linda Lysakowski, Marc Pitman and Terrie Temkin.  You can visit their blog or website by clicking on their name.  I’ve organized the ideas into categories:


ASK! – in capital and bold letters – often, and lots of ways – both traditional and using Social Media.  Don’t be shy about asking.

Get to know and connect with your donors in a personal way in all phases from cultivation through thank yous.

Get smarter – Try new approaches – Seek out training in marketing not just fundraising

Engage the CEO and Board in all phases

Think of the donor in terms of long term value and cultivate for the long term

Mission, Operations, Evaluation, Creativity, Boards

Understand and communicate your value proposition

Take evaluation seriously

Spend more time on “play” – it develops creativity – very much needed in the nonprofit sector

Center your policy, operations and decisions on your mission.

Have the Right State of Mind – From My Own 2012 Resolutions

I, of course, added my own two cents to the list which is simply to eliminate some of the “busyness” that takes so much time, and adds so little value to my life.   This busyness has been cluttering my brain and keeping me from dealing with issues in depth.  In 2012 I plan to fight back the sound bite life and give the “blue chips” more “in depth” attention.

I am moving into a new more spacious office space courtesy of my adult son moving into his own apartment. (Yeah!!!)  I am getting rid of stuff and getting more organized in my new space.  There is a place to continue to have candles lit when I am in a pensive mood or fresh flowers when I need to wake my spirits.  My husband, Hugh, did a scale floor plan with pieces for the furniture and in the big empty space in the middle he had a piece that said “Zach’s play area.”  Zach is my two and a half year old grandson and he does like to visit Grandma in her office.   (You can also read about my escapades as a grandmother at The Grandma Chronicles).  So I am looking forward to the type of year Anne talks about with “real meat on the value bones” and I plan to take Terrie’s advice and “add more play to my work.”

I hope you have found these ideas to be food for thought as you set your own goals for 2012.  Please share in the comments any additional thoughts or feedback on these ideas.



For more resources, see our Library topic Nonprofit Capacity Building.

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