The Non-Profit Checklist Every Organization Needs to Stay on Track


non-profit checklist

We met Tina, the President of a small nonprofit association last year.  As the only full-time staff and with frequent board turnover, she found it difficult to remember everything needed to keep her nonprofit smoothly — event planning, member management, fundraising, volunteers, etc. At the same time, she didn't have the budget to pay for sophisticated project management tools to keep her and her staff on track.

We connected Tina with a president of another association of a similar size, who had developed a phenomenally simple checklist which he claimed had really turned things around at his organization.

At first Tina couldn't believe how something so simple could make much difference, but when she glanced over his checklist, she realized how many areas of her nonprofit she had been neglecting that could use an update for the better — things like updating new member orientation guides, creating social media share packages, and making sure blog posts on the website were recent.

When Tina began using her own variant of the checklist, she said the difference it made was like night and day. In fact she attributes a sudden growth spurt in members and landing her biggest sponsor ever to items the checklist reminded her to do. As a result, she doesn't start a new month until she's gone over her checklist with her staff.

If you need a simple way to remember everything needed to run your nonprofit smoothly, consider developing your own checklist. To help you out, here is a variant of the checklist Tina uses to help her set monthly priorities and keep operations on track for the following areas:

  1. Board and Operations Planning
  2. Data Management Planning
  3. Financial Planning
  4. Member and Communication Management Planning
  5. Fundraising Planning
  6. Volunteer Planning
  7. Website Planning
  8. Event Planning

Read More: How to Start a 501c3 Nonprofit the Right Way in Nine Steps

Best Free Nonprofit Software

Non-profit Checklist


1. Board and Operations Planning:

☐ Board recruitment is complete and all positions have been filled

☐ All staff/board member orientation materials are up-to-date and distributed

☐ A plan is in place for board member transitions

  • Information gathering and transfer
  • Introduction to appropriate staff and volunteers
  • Orientation and plan/budget review & baton passing

☐ Board meeting dates are set for the next quarter

☐ Annual Conference date set

☐ Website staff directory is up-to-date

☐ Meeting minutes are documented and are easily accessible for all staff/board members (see our complete guide on how to write effective meeting minutes)

☐ Staff/board evaluation dates have been set for the quarter

☐ All of the volunteer board member roles are filled

2. Data Management Planning:

☐ Member database is up to date (if you're using an Excel spreadsheet - is it backed up? Considered using membership management software to automatically update member records)

☐ Donor database is up to date 

☐ Volunteer database is up to date 

☐ Membership plans and pricing is up-to-date on the website and all promotional materials

3. Financial Planning:

☐ Annual budget approved

☐ Quarterly financial statements are available to the board and at meetings

☐ Each board member has submitted a plan to meet their goals and budgets

☐ All financial records are in one place and ready for year-end reporting/auditing

☐ All receipts and invoices are submitted

4. Member and Communication Management Planning:

☐ Renewal reminder letters and emails are scheduled to go out

☐ New-member orientation guide is up-to-date and sent out automatically with a new-member welcome email

☐ The member-only area on the website is updated with the latest resources

☐ Members who have not opened an email or attended an event in the last six months are flagged and sent a re-engagement email, or given a call

☐ Annual member survey date and questions are set

 Is your communications plan finalized for the coming year?

  • Does it include a content strategy and calendar?
  • Do you have resources in place for social media?
  • Do you have an annual report plan prepared?

5. Fundraising Planning:

☐ Reports created for concluded campaigns

☐ Targets set for future campaigns

☐ Internal fundraising calendar of goals and events up to date

☐ Fundraising action plan created (see our post on How to Get Donations: 18 Ways the Pros Are Doing It)

☐ Fundraising contingency plan created

☐ Fundraising goals and status are updated on the website 

☐ Prompt acknowledgements and thank you letters are set up to go out to all donors and volunteers.

6. Volunteer Planning:

☐ Volunteers have been orientated

☐ All volunteer positions have been filled

☐ A reserve of "emergency" volunteers has been created

☐ Volunteer appreciation materials have been created and gone out

For a more comprehensive list, see our New Volunteer Recruitment Checklist.

7. Website Planning:

☐ News section is up to date

☐ Member-of-the-month changed

☐ Images from latest event added

☐ Contact information is accurate

☐ Latest blog post is recent

For a more comprehensive list, see our Website Spring Cleaning "To Do" List.

8. Event Planning:

☐ Event calendar for the year is published on the website

☐ Annual Fundraiser date set

☐ Event Chairs are in place for all events

☐ All events have networking pre-sessions for members

☐ Speakers confirmed for the rest of the year

☐ A variety of events and topics are booked (lunch and learns, speaker series, fun activities, fundraisers, etc.)

☐ Event promotional package created (press release, email invites, etc.)

☐ Staff/board members are assigned to seek out PR promotions (radio, local newspaper, TV spots, etc.)

☐ Social media promo posts scheduled to go out on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn

☐ Registration and attendee lists have been imported into the member database (consider using membership management software to do this automatically online)

On another note, if you've got an event coming up and want a more comprehensive event list, be sure to download our Ultimate Event Planning Checklist for associations and clubs.

non-profit checklist


This #1 Nonprofit Software Saves Time for Membership Organizations

If you run a membership organization (like a club or association), there's a software solution that can save you time and money by automating all member dues, new member registrations and event fees.

That software is called Membership Management Software, which is an all-in-one management solution designed for small to medium-sized nonprofits. Here's what else it can do for you:

  • Instantly process online payments, fees, and donations.
  • Give you a professional, easy to build website where you can host a news section, notices, resources, member directory, event calendar and more.
  • Setup online volunteer, member, and event registration pages.
  • Maintain a full contact database that's easy to search, filter, and update.
  • Improve member communication through automated invoices, emails, newsletters, and maintenance requests.
  • Provide you with financial reports, analytics, and membership summaries in seconds.

Membership Management Software eliminates the need for multiple systems and the processing work needed to maintain them all by condensing everything into one, easy-to-use solution.

If you'd like to setup this software for your organization, I'd encourage you to start a free trial of Wild Apricot. Wild Apricot is the #1 rated Membership Management Software used by over 20,000 organization around the word. You can get your free, 30-day trial here.

non-profit checklistWild Apricot Review"As a small non-profit and an all volunteer board, we do not have the capability to run our membership sign ups and training registrations, by hand. We now have automated payments, registrations, renewals and are able to communicate in an instant with our membership. It is also very nice to have all of this with a user-friendly website in one place!"

- DeeDee LeBaron, Oregon Employment and Training Association

non-profit checklist

non-profit checklist


Additional Resources

Check out these additional resources to help you keep your nonprofit up-to-date:

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

Please include a link to if you copy, distribute or re-transmit any of the documents that make up this guide. For permissions beyond the scope of this license, contact us.

See for yourself how easy to use and affordable Wild Apricot is:

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