As the mornings become a little darker and a little crisper, and the gold and orange and red leaves begin to blow away (such glorious colors in Colorado this year!), 2022 is coming into focus, and for many of us planning is well underway.
No matter your mission, you are likely a different organization compared with your early-2020 self. You may have had to reinvent the way you did business last year. For instance, many human services organizations who never provided emergency food added this program when COVID hit and have found the need has just continued. Arts and culture organizations that had to move completely virtual for some time are now back in-person, but have maintained the reservation systems and virtual programming that kept them going. Organizations with BIPOC leadership and racial equity outcomes have new interest from corporates and new donors and are wondering if these will be sustaining funders. Now that you are operating your new organization in a new world, even a fairly recent strategic plan is obsolete.
Doing things differently can give your organization the confidence to move boldly into a new vision for the coming year. If you made it through the turmoil of 2020 and 2021, don't you think you can do anything? For those of you planning for a new, big project in the next 12 to 18 months, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Start Big. You need more space, more land, more resources to serve your constituents well. Think about what you could do if money was not an obstacle. Now is not the time for incremental. Now is the time for monumental.
Brag a Bit. Even if it's just to yourselves, identify why your organization is the best one for this job, to take on this project that will change the world in some way. You are special. Be able to explain why.
Think Abundance. There are resources out there so there's no reason that your organization shouldn't be the one to receive them, right? Donors and funders are ready to think differently to address deep-rooted social ills. They just need to be connected to you. And you are the best org for the job (see #2).
Get Creative. Resources aren't all about the contributions you have been able to secure traditionally. Recoverable grants, forgivable loans, program-related investments, and impact investments may be just the type of funding you need to compliment those hard-earned gifts and grants or the commercial loans you've already identified for your audacious goals.
While we used to be able to look forward by reflecting on the last 24 months or so, the last year and a half has been anything but a prediction of what is to come. While it may seem like the upheaval of the last fiscal year makes life less certain for nonprofit organizations, your new perspective might also be just what you need to set your sights on those big goals and big gifts for the coming year. Let’s move courageously into 2022. Afterall, you can do anything – you already have.