9 End-Of-Year Questions For Nonprofits
As the year draws to a close, nonprofits have a great time to reflect on the past 12 months. While this reflection can come in many forms, one practice that’s especially helping is asking end-of-year questions.
These questions force a nonprofit to take an objective look at the entire year. In this way, and by working together to find answers, your team can get a better idea of how “successful” the year really was. It’s also crucially a great way to prepare for the year ahead.
With this in mind, we’ve gathered none of our favorite end-of-year questions. While different people might have different answers, answering these questions at the end of December can be a great exercise for your entire team. We hope these questions guide you into a successful 2024!
9 Important End-Of-Year Questions For Nonprofits
1) Did We Achieve Our Annual Goals?
What were your plans for the year? Did you achieve them? If not, where did you fall short? What are you able to do to make sure you are successful?
It’s obvious why your team needs to spend time with this end-of-year question. Every nonprofit has goals, and you want to be sure that you are achieving them. Additionally, this question is important because it helps you reflect on the overall goals you made. What goals were useful to strive for? Which ones are better to not focus on, or change entirely?
2) What Impact Did We Make?
Regardless of the goals you had, the true measure of success is impact. Of course, this question can be tricky to answer. What is considered “impact?” Total funds raised? People helped? Total events that you were a part of?
So how do you do this? The first thing is to go over what you actually can measure. This includes going over any data that you have, and checking out which campaigns of yours performed especially well. You should also talk to different members of your team. They will have unique insight into the different kinds of impact your organization has had throughout the year.
3) Did We Engage Our Community Effectively?
A strong community is foundational to a nonprofits success. This ensures that you are building a reputation as a community that actually cares about its audience. It’s also a great way to drive more attention to your various marketing campaigns.
Thankfully, measuring community engagement is relatively easy to do. Be sure to review your various social media metrics and the results of any outreach campaigns. As for one of the best ways to engage with people? Consider running an event that people will remember!
4) How Effective Were Our Fundraising Efforts?
Let’s be honest: as important as your mission is, you will fall short if you don’t have the funds coming in. This is a fundamental reality for nonprofits everywhere. That’s why a great end-of-year question is addressing your overall fundraising efforts.
This should be relatively straightforward to answer. First, how many donations did you bring in? This is your baseline, and the first thing you should measure. Second, how many different channels did you use for your various fundraisers? Lastly, which campaigns performed especially well? Once you find that out – how can you repeat them in the new year?
5) What Were Our Key Challenges?
Challenges are a natural part of running a nonprofit. Still, it’s important not to view them in purely negative terms. Instead, they are a great chance to reflect on why things were so difficult, and how you might change that in the new year. Was your team somehow unprepared? Or perhaps you need to train for specific skills, like working knowledge of ChatGPT.
Just as importantly – did you overcome these challenges? How did you act in the face of adversity? This end-of-year question is an excellent opportunity to make your nonprofit even more well-rounded.
6) What Was Your Most Important Achievement Of The Year?
Just as important as reflecting on your challenges is taking the time to acknowledge your wins. While you probably have several, it’s beneficial to think about what your “number 1” was. This can give you an insight into what your team prioritizes.
Was it an especially successful fundraiser? Maybe your team landed a new big name donor? Or perhaps it was the number of people you helped? Regardless of which specific achievement you decide was your most important, make sure you spend time with this end-of-year question. It helps you see where you have succeeded, and gives you time to think about how you can replicate that success.
7) How Did We Manage Our Resources?
Every organization has limited resources. This includes both time, workers, budget, and skill sets. The important thing is not necessarily gaining more resources – but effectively working with what you have.
With that in mind, answering this question can be a great way to discover how efficient you were. Where did you achieve this resource efficiency, and where can you improve? Work on this as a team and you will quickly discover opportunities for better resource optimization.
8) What Lessons Did We Learn?
While admittedly somewhat vague, this end-of-year question is invaluable. It’s great to think about what you did. Indeed, many of these nine questions address exactly that.
But it shouldn’t stop there. Just as important (and perhaps even more important for long-term success) is what your team learned. These are hard-earned lessons that you can apply to the new year and beyond. And the real benefit? Almost everybody on your team will have different answers. Make time to answer this across your entire organization, and you set yourself up for even more success in the future.
9) Are We Prepared for the Future?
Lastly, this end-of-year question sets you up to think about the future. While it’s great to reflect on what you’ve already done, it’s essential to always be looking forward. This is essential for any long-term marketing plans you might have.
What are your plans for the next year? What do you want to do differently? Where have you failed or underperformed in 2023, and how can you step things up in 2024? These are all essential questions to reflect on when you are doing your end-of-year reflecting. That’s because the answers are fundamental to addressing future challenges.
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