The new year is here and with it, the feeling of a fresh start. While your organization’s fiscal year may not run on the calendar year, the start of the new year may inspire you to think big and explore possible changes. If you’re thinking about changes you want to make in 2018 for your fundraising or communications program, I want to give you a generative question to consider for planning. Here it is.
What problem are you really solving for this year?
This question came up in my own planning process recently and before I dive into why this question is so important, some back story.
The sister question that inspired it was, “Where can I go for a multiplied result?” This question for me is really about considering where I can get exponentially greater results rather than just marginally better results. Sure, gradually increasing results or outcomes is good, but usually there are one or two places where there is an opportunity for even greater growth. I try to identify those places and then develop a plan to leverage the opportunities. Ultimately, my goal is to improve my results with ease so rather than spreading myself thin trying to work to improve a bunch of things, I focus like a laser.
After thinking about my own answer to the question of a multiplied result, my partner asked me an even smarter question. Based on the outcome you are trying to achieve, what problem are you really solving for this year?
An example, if you are trying to raise an additional $100k in 2018 that is your outcome. But in order to achieve that outcome, you might need to increase your major gifts portfolio and in order to do that, maybe you need an extra 5 to 10 hours a week to dedicate to major gifts work. The problem you are really trying to solve for is creating an extra 5 to 10 hours a week in your schedule so that you can invest time in this high-value activity.
All this is to say, as you develop resolutions and set new goals, I want to encourage you to dig deeper to think about what it’s really going to take to reach that goal. More than likely, that will be the real problem you are solving for and is what will lead you to the bigger and better result.
Brainstorming some ideas for 2018 and not sure what problem you are trying to solve? Leave a comment below and I’ll help you out.