As an Executive Director of a nonprofit, you’ve probably had moments where you think about how to accomplish more. Perhaps you took it a step further and put some time management practices in place to be more productive.

Nonprofit Priorities: Doing More or Doing the Right Things?

Consider this, perhaps it’s not an issue of getting more things done, but rather finding a way to clear the clutter and get the right things done – the few strategic activities than would net the most positive impact for your organization, mission, and constituents.

In his book Essentialism, Greg McKeown puts forth the theory that your best move is to make “the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.”

He’s not suggesting that we do only the bare minimum. He’s suggesting that it’s necessary to prioritize activities and then invest in the activities that hold the most potential for true transformation.

Nonprofit Priorities: Low Value Activities are the Enemy of Strategic Objectives

Generally, we all begin our days with a rough idea of what we’d like to accomplish. The items on that ‘To Do’ list begin to multiply the minute we open our email. The proactive activities are quickly sharing space on the list with dozens of reactive activities. This causes us to power through one activity, move on to the next activity, power though it, and then move on to the next – giving each activity equal importance.

That’s how low value activities chew up our time, energy and creativity – and choke off resources for the more strategic, big picture activities.

Nonprofit Priorities: Delegate and Outsource

In order to end this vicious cycle, you must hit the brakes and evaluate what is getting in the way of your most important duties. The next step is the most difficult: make the decision say no to anything that will divert you from your priorities and don’t look back.

Is that easier said than done? Yes. But savvy nonprofit executive directors understand the necessity of taking such a stance. Before you get down to the strategic essentials, you will need to clear the clutter. You can clear the clutter by outsourcing and delegating.

An Executive Coach told me that the first, most difficult step executive needs to take in order to become more effective is to delegate. However, once the step is taken, the bottleneck is loosened, the executive can focus on the more important responsibilities and positive change begins to accelerate.

Outsourcing is the other key measure. As an outsourced accounting services company, we see how executives and their organization flourish when they free themselves of paper chasing, data entry, and report creation.

Nonprofit executive directors that use our services tell us that not only do they have more time for analyzing data, the tasks that we are doing for them are completed more quickly and accurately. There is no disruption to their financial reporting and accounting activities due to turnover, vacation, sick time and personal time off. They also have the advantage of real time access to their data through dashboards that are tailored to the individual user within the organization – whether that is the executive director, program manager, development director, or board member.

As you begin your planning for the new year, consider where your time and energy would be best spent. What activities can you delegate? What activities can you outsource? The team at Qbix is available to help you investigate how outsourcing accounting could make next year a banner year.