Happy New Year! Before the promise of 2018 transforms into to-do lists and meetings, we suggest taking a few moments to identify what’s most important and what you do well. Define the priorities that will make a difference in the lives of those you serve. Here are four suggestions that can ground your fundraising as you begin 2018.
- Honestly assess your strengths and challenges. Take a moment to assess yourself as an individual. This isn’t about praise and blame – it’s about reflection without judgment. With an honest assessment you can focus on what you do well, and find someone to partner with who can help in areas where you are challenged. You don’t have to be everything to everybody, including to yourself. Just be you. Assess your organization as well. What are the strengths of your nonprofit? What makes your organization unique? How do you add value to your community? You don’t have to be the executive director to conduct this assessment. In fact, it’s most interesting when people at all different levels engage in this reflection and share their results.
- Review and evaluate the prior year. Move from assessment to evaluation. Ask yourself and your team members, “What worked? What fell short of expectations? What was unexpected?” Don’t avoid the big question: “Did we meet our fundraising goals?” Look at your numbers and the numbers behind the numbers. Stay away from blame. Review the prior year with an eye to learn what worked and what didn’t. Listen to what your team members share. Take notes.
- Readjust your plan. Look at your plans for 2018. Do these need to be adjusted based on what you have learned? Do you need to adjust your priorities, staffing, budget, or case for support? Who do you need to work with? Do you have what it takes to implement your fundraising plan? Is it the same plan you have had for years? Is it working? Don’t have one? This is the right time to create one. Keep it simple and specific. Make sure that everybody in your organization is doing something every day to advance your fundraising: Your year-end success depends on the 365 consistent daily actions you take.
- Don’t try to do everything at once. Focus on a few things you can sustain, that will advance your work, and secure funding.
Your work is important. We need you. Stay calm and embrace 2018.
Copyright 2017 – Mel and Pearl Shaw
Mel and Pearl Shaw are authors of four books on fundraising available on Amazon.com. For help growing your fundraising visit www.saadandshaw.com or call (901) 522-8727.