The experience of record highs, and lows, in 2020 and 2021 left those of us serving in philanthropy with spectacular hopes for 2022. It turns out this year has held entirely new lessons in fundraising through inflation, war, a massive crypto crash and the ongoing pandemic to name a few. The lessons of this year hold significant wisdom as we turn the page to 2023. A key goal of our established strategies this year is to prepare early so we can adjust to roadblocks easily and in real-time. We will listen to our donors, listen to the forecasts, listen to current events–and then we will ask accordingly, giving our donors the opportunity to shine their light in the way that is most meaningful to them.
My New Year’s resolution is to find meaningful connections with donors. For too long now we’ve had to rely on email, phone, and other impersonal ways to engage with donors. It had its place but I’m excited to be face-to-face with my donors again and have meaningful conversations about why they are philanthropic and how they can impact childhood hunger. Meaningful connections will lead to stronger relationships and a more beneficial partnership for all.
My resolution for the New Year is to build on the successes we have had this past year through continued engagement of our donors and other key stakeholders, who share in our mission to apply the skills and wisdom cultivated through contemplative practice – together with the insights emerging from science – to today’s urgent social and environmental challenges. Our work at the Garrison Institute has never been more crucial. At a time when it seemed we may have turned the corner from the pandemic, new economic, social, and environmental challenges have emerged – further underscoring the need for the solutions made possible through contemplation, compassion, and the understanding of our profound connections to one another and to our world. I am also excited about the steps the Garrison Institute is taking to diversify and expand the organization and its leadership, which will position us well to address pressing issues such as racial and social inequity and the climate crisis.
United Way of Greater Newark is celebrating our Centennial Anniversary in 2023. Next year’s fundraising will focus on this milestone. For 100 years, our nonprofit organization has been disrupting the cycle of poverty in our footprint, which spans two counties. While our vision has adapted to the needs of those we serve, we operate with the same core principles as our founder William M. Ashby in promoting equality among all people in our community. Our President and CEO, Catherine Wilson, leads the way as an advocate for educational equity, health equity, and financial stability for families and individuals.
In serving over 13 municipalities, we are always looking to grow our network of donors and partners through relationship building. We accomplish this by canvassing small businesses and joining professional networks such as Chambers of Commerce. We are also very conscious of providing our current individual donors and corporate funders with updates on how their donations positively impact the community and allowing them to volunteer to see the impact of their generosity firsthand. United Way of Greater Newark is constantly assessing and reassessing the changing needs of our community to identify the best ways that we can serve those in need.
After much transition in 2022, my resolution is to continue to build a fundraising team that is diverse and innovative in their thinking, approach and overall strategy in working with donors. In healthcare our patient care teams are focused on the patient and family centered care. My resolution for 2023 is that we continue to become a foundation focused on the donor. I believe we will exceed our goals and revenue targets if we focus on the donor and become more donor centric in all that we do.
Communications to donors are often too focused on the nonprofit and not about the donor. It’s important for us to listen and find out what our supporters want and respond would be my overarching resolution for the New Year.