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:
- Board and Operations Planning
- Data Management Planning
- Financial Planning
- Member and Communication Management Planning
- Fundraising Planning
- Volunteer Planning
- Website Planning
- Event Planning
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?
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.
Check out these additional resources to help you keep your nonprofit up-to-date: