I tend to be a bit skeptical of New Year’s resolutions, since (for no other reason) the first day of the second month of winter feels like an odd time to restart engines or rethink strategies. Moreover, for many arts nonprofits, the new “year” actually starts in August or September. That said, rather than a time for a restart, maybe this is a good time just to pause, ponder, and reconsider. Which was the theme of many of these resolutions, compiled by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Here are three that jumped out to me:
Stop referring to our industry by what we don?t do. Not-for-profit is a tax status, not an operating model. We are social-benefit organizations that produce significant value.
– Howard Kucher, executive director, the Evergreen Project
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. Be willing to turn on a dime programmatically and financially because if you do not, someone else will.
— Susan Raymond, executive vice president of the consulting company Changing Our World
2012 must be the year of deeper vs. wider. We must resolve not to pursue every opportunity to serve — like a raccoon chasing every shiny object it sees — but instead focus our efforts on where we can maximize impact.
– Ritu Sharma, executive director, Social Media for Nonprofits
The first resolution also raises a question for me. At this point in the year, whether you see it as your beginning or your middle, has the desire ever arisen to rename what you do? Not change or reshape it, but simply rename it. And is that an impulse on which you would act? Perhaps a good resolution for any time of year is simply to keep questioning — and to make peace with uncertainty and rapid, vital change.