“The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. ” Let’s face it, our well-thought-out plans are sometimes hijacked by unforeseen circumstances. Other times, God may try to redirect us and we’re too “in the weeds” to notice. When you are in the middle of your fiscal year, there is no better time to look up and look back. There is great value in determining what is working and what is not – then making changes for a better ending before another year has flown by.
I’ve been reading “Atomic Habits“ by James Clear. In his book, he states: “It doesn’t matter how successful or unsuccessful you are right now. What matters is whether your habits are putting you on the path toward success. You should be far more concerned with your current trajectory than with your current results.” A good habit to get into is to regularly re-evaluate to make sure you are moving forward on the right path in order to achieve your desired results.
So here we are at the halfway point of 2021. How are you doing on your fundraising goal? That new program you wanted to start this year? Your plan to recruit volunteers? In the re-evaluation process, you might ask yourself questions like: “Why has my new program not taken off like I thought it would? Where do I need to cut back in order to make budget? How can I increase engagement on social media?”
Don’t beat yourself up if you are not where you want to be. But don’t let one more day go by without making a re-evaluate plan to see what needs to change.
1. Set up a progress tracking system:
If you don’t have a way to keep your goals and assignments in front of you, chances are some are sliding through the cracks. I’m a big believer in online project management tools, and the one I recommend most often is Asana.com. For an example on keeping your goals/plans visible to you and your team while tracking assignments and deadlines, watch my short Asana tutorial.
2. Schedule a re-evaluate day:
As part of our strategic plan for Women’s Nonprofit Alliance, we have an all-day meeting twice a year (besides our regular team meetings). Our annual planning day is held prior to the beginning of our fiscal year to determine our next year’s goals, programs, and important dates. Then we meet for a mid-year check-in to make any necessary adjustments to what we planned previously. This way if something is just not working out, we can pivot or punt as needed. You could do this without a team, but it’s much more effective when other minds are involved.
3. Celebrate your small wins:
Once you see what is working, share your success with your social media followers, send a “thank you note” to those who helped make it possible, and report to your board so they can celebrate with you. By re-evaluating, you might find out that you have served more than you anticipated, gained a few new recurring donors, implemented a new time-saving process, or have hosted a meaningful event. Acknowledge your wins, no matter how small, and share with others. We all need reminders that God’s plan is being fulfilled.
Of course if you have never taken the time to document your goals/plans, you may have nothing to re-evaluate. Don’t worry-it’s never too late to start. It is worth the time and effort you will put in. I highly recommend making this a part of your strategic planning process so at this midway point you will be mindful of your current trajectory and be able to make the necessary adjustments to finish well!