In Latin, “tabula rasa” means clean slate. In epistemology and psychology, tabula rasa is a hypothetical condition that empiricists have attributed to the human mind before ideas have been imprinted on it by sensory reactions to the external world of objects.
For nonprofits, however, tabula rasa may mean something different, such as a fresh start to your new fiscal year. Indeed, for many nonprofits that have fiscal year start dates of July 1, a clean slate provides an opportunity to look upon the organization’s annual calendar anew. Here are a few key examples of important dates on nonprofits’ calendars that may need some strategic review and tweaking.
Meet the Board
Perhaps most important is the start of new board members and perhaps an incoming president. This presents a good time to meet with the president to plan committee assignments, especially the development committee. This committee will play an important role in FY21 due to the unknowns about the financial stability in light of COVID-19.
Build the Budget
Another important date to circle on the calendar is the date of the budget approval. Be sure to block out a two-to-four-week period to work on the budget, making sure to leave ample time for revisions and board approval. In light of the pandemic, this will be especially important given the potential adjustment to financing options and new or adjusted funding streams.
Plan the Newsletter
And third, this is a good time of year to examine how your calendar is filling out, in order to schedule the regular newsletter distribution. It will be especially important this year to reach your audience in a timely manner to reinforce your fund-raising, while avoiding going to press during your busiest times. And remember, you are apt to get more readers if you offer considerable value at little-to-no cost. Consider offering a freebie, such as a free coffee with the Executive Director or a free ticket to your annual meeting.
We know we may have missed additional important calendar dates, so we will add thoughts on each of these in subsequent blog pieces.
And if we can help you organize your nonprofit’s annual calendar, please contact us today.