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Tip #55 Things You Can Control in 2021


Preparing a budget, let alone a plan for 2021, is largely a work of speculation. A new strain of COVID has emerged in the U.K., the impact of the vaccines on the pandemic is probably best estimated by throwing a dart at the calendar, and a new administration will lead our country in a matter of days. In all this change and uncertainty, there are things you can control. Consider these opportunities to provide your team, supporters, and board, consistency, and preparedness.

What You Measure

If your organization uses year-over-year financial reporting, Q1 will be as cringe-worthy as the past nine months. Consider examining success from a different angle. Rather than relying on a P&L to gauge your success, consider more insightful key performance indicators (KPI’s):

  • Email open/click-through rates
  • Website and social media traffic
  • Stakeholder diversity
  • Quantity of donors vs. quantity of funds received
  • Constituent reviews (employees, clients, community)
  • People served
  • Efficiency ratios, i.e., amount spent per mission-related task
  • Trending data rather than point-in-time analysis
  • Diversity of income streams

Your Strategy

Prioritize what is predictable. Events and in-person activities are variables in 2021. Put priority focus, energy and resources around building what is certain, i.e., growing awareness, digital communications, online service, and content delivery. If your organization is counting on an event or in-person activity place it at the bottom of the agenda and budget for worst-case-scenarios. It’s important to maintain optimism and hope, but as some politician once said, “hope is not a strategy.”

Your Time and Resources

Going back to #1, if you’re focusing on a new set of KPI’s, make sure you’re allocating your resources appropriately. Obviously, net positive cash flow is a priority, but what else would help your team become stronger and more effective in 2021? With all we’ve lost over the past nine months, there is room to add. Include education, growth, and development goals in your team’s priorities in 2021.

What new skills would help your team become resilient?

Are there networks you wish to become part of?

Are there outreach formats or initiatives you’ve never had time to pursue before?

Ultimately, the #1 aspect you have control of in any year or trial is your response. Cultivate peace of mind and preparedness by focusing on these controllable elements.

Katie Appold

Katie Appold, MPA
Executive Director | DO MORE GOOD