2015 is here! How did you ring in the New Year?
Today is the first day back at the office for many people after the holiday season. It can be a bit of a holiday hangover day. End of year fundraising has just finished, you were bombarded with family commitments and now you’re back at the office. Sometimes it feels like you can’t catch a break!
To help you ease yourself into the New Year and get a bit of a break, I recommend finding a day this week and dedicating it to reviewing and planning.
Reviewing what you did last year can be an incredibly powerful exercise. It will help you identify what went well, what could be improved and direct your planning efforts for 2015.
3 Essential Review Questions
What fundraising method brought in the most money?
What messages did you convey to your audience?
What felt overwhelming/overtaxing and/or left you on the verge of losing your marbles?
Together these questions will help you identify what went really well for your fundraising program, how you were talking to your donors and how it all affected you. That last question is important because if you forget to take care of yourself, you’ll be facing work fates than not meeting your fundraising goals.
In addition to the review questions above, doing a SWOT analysis can helpful. This will help you identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. While this is usually a tool for strategic planning, it is also a great tool for annual planning.
Here’s a SWOT worksheet + instructions that you might find helpful.
Making 2015 Awesome
One of the most helpful exercises that I do every year in planning is called “a painted picture.” This is where you dream big and visualize your fundraising and communications for the year. In the process of thinking about your ideal fundraising and communications program, you should write down the vision you have in your mind. Sometimes it might be a page. Other times you might write 3 or 4 pages about your vision. The point is to simply identify what it is you’re trying to achieve. If you’re a visual thinker, you might want to create a vision board rather than writing it out.
Once you have your painted picture articulated, you can refer back to it often to see if you’re actually taking steps towards achieving that vision. In this sense it can be a helpful tool to keep you on track to make 2015 awesome!