New Year Planning Checklist

December and January are usually the busiest months of the year at work and at home. So the thought of wrapping up the old year and planning for the new one can seem a little overwhelming. This is especially true for those who manage small non-profits and membership organizations, many of whom are juggling the same process at their day job as well as in their volunteer role. 

To reduce stress, help you set priorities for your valuable time, and generally keep things on track, we’ve developed a very high level Checklist of some of the planning tasks to close out this year and start the new one off right.

Take a look through our checklist – scan it or print it out, then:

  • Check things off that you’ve got covered – this can offer a great sense of accomplishment
  • See what pops out that you need to address or pull out pertinent items and create your own checklist

Operational Planning:

 Is your Member / Donor Database up-to-date? 

 If you’re using a spreadsheet – is it backed up? (Have you considered moving your member database online?)

☐ For those organizations on an annual or “fixed-date” renewal that follows the calendar year – are your renewal letters/reminders prepared (or sent) and your online self-service portal updated? 

 Have you finalized your membership plan? (e.g., recruitment and retention strategies & tactics)

Financial Planning:

 Is next year’s budget finalized and approved? 

 Has each committee chairperson and/or staff received their budgets for their areas?

☐ Are your records in order and ready for year-end reporting/auditing?

Fundraising Planning:

 Have you analyzed campaigns that are concluded?

☐ Did you identify what’s worked and what hasn't?

☐ Is the New Year fundraising planning calendar up to date?

 Have you created a fundraising action plan for your incoming Board?

 Do you have a process in place for prompt acknowledgements and thank you letters (especially if you’re in the midst of a year-end campaign)?

Communications Planning:

 Is your communications plan finalized for the coming year?

 Are your New Year communications ready-to-roll? (e.g., newsletter; holiday campaign update; welcome to new and outreach to returning members/supporters; etc.)

Event Planning:

 Is your event calendar for 2014 ready and published?

☐ Do you have Chairs in place for all planned events?

☐ Have January and February events been finalized?

☐ Has 2013 event data (e.g., registration, sponsors, attendance, venues, etc.) been updated, backed-up and made available to incoming event chair/volunteers?

Volunteer Planning:

 Is Board recruitment complete?

 Has the Board meeting schedule been finalized, circulated and posted?

 Have you filled all of the volunteer committee/chapter Chair roles?

 Do you have a plan in place for volunteer Chair transitions?

  • Information gathering and transfer
  • Introduction to appropriate staff and volunteers
  • Orientation and plan/budget review & baton passing
 Have returning Chairs recruited volunteers to fill their gaps?

 Is your volunteer orientation plan up to date?


We hope this helps you wind down this year and get the New Year off to a great start!

Want more planning tips and ideas?

Check out these additional Membership Knowledge Hub and blog resources:


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Membership Renewal Letter Checklist by Wild Apricot is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License
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