- Social Media
- Active Citizenship
- Good Giving
- Corporate Responsibility
- Be Fearless
The ever-intelligent Wikipedia defines a New Year’s Resolution as “a commitment that an individual makes to a project or the reforming of a habit, often a lifestyle change that is generally interpreted as advantageous.” Advantageous?... to whom?
The most common resolutions include those for personal benefit, including losing weight, saving money, and recommitting to a job or educational goal. But one day over a lunch of Lean Cuisine and brownies, my colleagues, Kristin and Stephanie, and I were discussing how to make meaningful resolutions this year, and wanted to know how we could take our good intentions a bit further to make a difference in 2009. So we solicited the wisdom of the crowds, via a few Twitter messages, as to what kind of “Nonprofit New Year’s Resolutions” users were making for causes this year.
The responses were inspiring, ranging from commitments of giving more personal time, to transforming organizational behaviors:
- elmundodemando: My Nonprofit New Year's resolution is to give people starting points in creating change in their communities
- alexsteed: For 2009 I have pledged 150 consultation and implementation hours to a local alternative arts npo
- serviceresource: Our Nonprofit New Year's Resolution is to show CNCS grantees how easy it is to get started leveraging social media tools
While we have no doubt these passionate and dedicated individuals will see their commitments through, a 2007 study of 3000 resolute individuals showed that only 12 percent achieved results that could be categorized as “success.” While we can’t be certain of the scientific viability of these results, here are a few ways you can turn your “Nonprofit New Year’s Resolution” into measurable results for your cause:
“I will use social media to raise funds and awareness.”
- Individuals: I will create a Sprout fundraising widget, join a Ning community, or use another Web 2.0 tool to get my friends involved in causes and organizations for which I am passionate.
- Organizations: We will make sure we are using these innovative technologies to raise funds online and advance our cause and will empower our supporters to do the same on our behalf.
“I will share what I learn.”
- Individuals: I will use Twitter or another micro-blogging service when I attend meetings or conferences to share snippets of information in real-time and keep everyone informed.
- Organizations: We will develop and utilize a blog to keep supporters informed on our programs and inform them of our successes.
“I will give donations as gifts.”
- Individuals: I will use applications like Causes on Facebook and organizations like Changing the Present to give virtual gifts with real-life meaning in honor of a special holiday or anniversary, and ask my friends to donate to a cause I care about in lieu of a birthday gift.
- Organizations: Like Twitter-user Emily Babb, we will ensure our supporters know the benefit of memorial and honorarium gifts and will make our process for giving them quick and easy.
“I will do my homework”
- Individuals: I will use services like Guidestar and Charity Navigator to make informed choices about effective organizations to which I want to donate.
- Organizations: We will ensure our 990s are filed on time and our public records and financials are up to date. We will create profiles on websites that allow public feedback and comments.
“I will volunteer”
- Individuals: I will commit my time in service to a cause I care about by finding a volunteer opportunity or donating my professional services pro bono.
- Organizations: We will give our employees time off to volunteer and encourage them to do so together as part of a team building experience. Additionally, we will encouraged skill-based volunteering by becoming a Pro Bono Champion.
“I will support socially responsible businesses practices”
- Individuals: I will commit to printing less and recycling more at home and work. When purchasing a product, I will consider companies’ business practices, positions, and contributions on issues that matter to me, such as energy usage, fair trade, labor standards, etc.
- Organizations: We will research vendors who donate a portion of proceeds to charities. We will encourage the office to go paperless and will evaluate the effectiveness of our direct mail campaigns.
These are just a few ideas to set you on your way. Not sure where to get started? Visit the Social Citizens Resource Center for suggestions.
In this new year, the United States also has a new president who is resolving to bring change to America—but the Case Foundation believes individuals everywhere also have a role to play, which is why we started the “Change Begins With Me” program. Similar to making a New Year’s Resolution, we invite individuals to state their personal commitment to change for a chance to win a trip to the Presidential Inauguration.
Whether you call it a resolution, a commitment, a plan, or just a passion, your idea matters, and we raise our New Year’s toast to you as you put them to work in 2009.
Happy New Year from your friends at the Case Foundation!