Tagged: Strategic Planning

Bad Luck…Or Is It?

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You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from. – Cormac McCarthy

Can you look back on a particular situation where you are sure divine intervention saved you a world of trouble?

Because even when we plan for the future to ensure that we will be prepared for whatever may come, bad or unforeseen things can happen to foil our carefully laid plans.

Sometimes what seems like a bad thing at the time, ends up being the best thing that ever happened to us.

Many years ago, I missed catching a ride with someone because I answered the phone and ended up chatting longer than I had intended.

Irritated with the situation and mumbling under my breath, I hailed a cab. Upon arriving at my destination, I learned that my would-have-been driver had been in an accident.

I’ve experienced a handful of similar situations with varying degrees of seriousness. Enough to make me more patient when things don’t always go my way.

A missed flight…

an unsuccessful job application…

a strategy that doesn’t work out as planned…

…might just be the best thing that ever happened.

Has something seemingly bad ever worked out for the best for you?

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.

Just Cut That Wood Already

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Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.” – Samuel Johnson

We’ve all heard that saying, “Measure twice, cut once.” It’s good advice meant to make sure you get what you envisioned.

When used as it is meant to be understood, it is good. When used as an excuse not to proceed, it is self-defeating.

In the context of an organization, it is good and advisable to have policies.

Policies equip and empower an organization to fulfill its mission.

The problem comes when policies are used to hide behind; preventing us from actually doing the work that we’re mandated to do.

Yes, do measure twice, but then cut already!

I mean, why start something if you’re not willing to take some risks?

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.

The Journey Vs. The Destination

“We do not really feel grateful toward those who make our dreams come true; they ruin our dreams.” Eric Hoffer

lab-rat-460x307I read a study once regarding scientists who were experimenting with two groups of rats.

They fed one group as much food as they could eat. They fed the other group just enough so that they were always a bit hungry.

The first group became lazy and lethargic and suffered a whole onslaught of diseases associated with poor health choices.

The second group had more energy, were more productive and lived longer.

Maybe there’s something to always being a bit hungry…

in our careers

in our relationships

in our dreams.

It’s good to have a dream,

a destination

a vision

goals

ambitions.

But maybe it’s more about the journey

The process of getting there

the striving

the passion

the fighting for.

When I get what I want, I’m happy.

But then inevitably

I begin to miss the dreaming,

the anticipating

the striving to get there.

What do you think? Which is better, the journey or the destination?

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.

Collective Impact

IHeartHomeMy good friend Louise Gallagher recently invited me to attend the Community Summit on ending homelessness in Calgary, Alberta and I am so happy that I took her up on it!

WHY?

Because any time an organization can draw 450 people from 150 organizations together to work on addressing a common goal, the Community Builder in me is beside herself with joy!

The Community Summit was organized by the good folks at the Calgary Homeless Foundation, along with leaders in the homelessness sector, to introduce Calgary’s updated 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness.

The key piece that stands out to me is how this goal will be achieved.

Beyond collaboration, the success of the 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness is dependent on Collective Impact and involves everyone in the community; including service providers, government, the private sector, academia, media, faith community, those who have lived experience, or are members of the public.

And that’s just amazing to me!

There are five conditions that need to be met for Collective Impact:

  • Common Agenda
  • Shared measurement
  • Mutually reinforcing activities
  • Continuous Communication
  • Backbone support

To read more about the summit and get more information on Calgary’s updated 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness, click here.

Does your organization work with multiple partners to achieve its goals? What are the benefits of working with multiple partners? What are your thoughts on collective impact?

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.

Do What You Need to Do And Don’t Give Up

Begin to be now what you will be hereafter. -William James

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It takes vision, time and a whole lot of work

The other day, I read a post on a blog that I have been following for sometime about a woman who has had to get a ‘regular job.’

For the last couple of years, she’s been working on a small business that she believes in and is very passionate about.

She has given it all she’s got but it isn’t making enough money to support her family’s lifestyle.

It’s not an issue of them living beyond their means – they are happy to have a roof over their heads, food in their tummy and a little extra for their savings.

I know what it feels like to be passionate about something, so with the intention of encouraging her, I commented, “Do what you need to do, but don’t give up on your dream.”

And that’s exactly what she’d doing.

We live in a ‘All or nothing’ world. If we can’t have everything the way we think it should be right away, we question the validity of our dreams.

I think the same is true of non-profits. Yes you should have a vision statement.

And yes, you should act now in a way that supports your vision.

But you can’t do so beyond your means.

And you can’t rush your learning curve – it takes time to grow.

And you can’t do anything without a whole lot of hard work.

In other words, be patient, do what you need to do and don’t give up on your vision.

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.

Your Perfect Day: Picture It and Make It Happen

If you could paint a picture of the perfect day at your organization, what things would you envision?

Use the following questions as a guide to help you paint your perfect day.

IMG_20141020_101547What does it look like? What does the atmosphere feel like?

Who are you having conversations with?

What is your message? What’s the-word-on-the-street about you?

Who is your audience? What are they saying? What do you need them to do? How are they responding?

What are staff and volunteers doing? How do they feel about what they’re doing? Can they see how their work fits into the bigger picture? What are they telling others about their work?

What is your team saying about you? Each other? What are you saying about them?

What are other departments saying about you?

Who’s on board with you? What are they investing? What are you giving them?

Who is your typical donor? What’s their story? Why do they give to you? What challenges are they facing?

Who are your corporate partners? How do your values align with theirs? What are they doing for you? What are you doing for them? How are their employees involved with you?

What services/products are you offering? Which stories are you telling about them? Which stories do your supporters tell about them?

If you were to begin painting the picture of the perfect day today, which tools do you need? Which colours do you need? Where do you apply short strokes? Long strokes? Who do you need to come on board with you?

Are you willing to roll up your sleeves to make it happen, how committed are you?

Are you caught up in busy activities without really knowing what you are working toward? Envision your perfect day, then build solid strategies to take you there.

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.

5 Steps to Planning an Event

“If you don’t know where you are going,untitled
you’ll end up someplace else.”
― Yogi Berra

When planning an event, it is vital to understand the time and resources needed leading up to the event.

There are a number of tools you can use to plan for, and manage, your event. But what if you don’t have the resources to purchase them?

Outlook Calendar can give you an overview of your event and all its components at a glance. Outlook Task allows you to assign tasks to the appropriate people, along with setting completion dates.

You can also create an excel sheet that can be sorted by categories, projects, tasks, persons responsible, project status and due dates.

5 Steps to implementing a project/event

  1. Set the date for the event.
  2. Determine components leading up to that date; booking the venue, creating invites, advertising, media relations, social media for example, and set completion dates for each one.
  3. Work backwards from there and set dates that allow enough time to complete tasks leading up to each component of the event. For example say you have set dates to run advertisements, tasks leading up to when the ads run (in reverse order) may include: final copy written, draft of copy submitted for editing, write first draft of the copy, develop storyboard for copy, etc.
  4. Assign the appropriate person to each task.
  5. Follow your timeline and modify it as needed.

Once completed, not only do you have a plan for your current event, as an added bonus you have created a template for future events as well!

What’s your favourite project management tool? Do you have a system or style of project management that has worked well for you? Please share it below.

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.

Your Company Benefits From Supporting The Organizations It Loves

Creating a company culture of “doing good” is an excellent way to build a positive workplace environment. Helping those in need can enrich your employees’ lives, hence working for a company that supports and encourages charitable goals results in happier, more productive employees. ~ Truist Blog

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Charitable goals result in happier, more productive employees.

More than ever before, today’s employees want to make a meaningful impact.

They want to make a difference in this world.

They want to be part of something bigger than themselves.

They want to work for an employer that cares about them and the general well-being of the community in which they do business.

If your company is one of the thousands that value giving back to the community through financial contributions, volunteering and sharing expertise you already know how much this means to your employees.

The benefits associated with your company’s decision to invest in its community include:

  • existing and future customers know that doing business with you also has positive implications for society.
  • employees find meaning within your company’s philanthropic culture.
  • company volunteer and donation programs create opportunities for team building.
  • the community at large recognizes and respects your company’s commitment to healthier communities.
  • you are helping to make the world a better place.

INVESTING IN YOUR COMMUNITY IS ALWAYS A WIN/WIN.

If you are looking for ways that your company can make a difference for its chosen organization, you may wish to consider one or more of the following:

  • Match the donations of your employees up to a specified amount.
  • Donate a generous gift every year.
  • Partner with them on a specific project.
  • Sponsor one of their fundraising events.
  • Volunteer to lead a committee in your area of expertise; Health and Safety for example.
  • Dedicate a portion of your employees’ time to provide counsel or services like IT support or legal advice.
  • Become a member of their Board of Directors.
  • Pay for a professional to facilitate the building of their capacity and sustainability through strategic planning.
  • Pay for key staff at the organization to attend professional development workshops along with your employees.
  • Use your influence to reach a greater audience of support.

What are some other ways that your company can invest in the organizations they love?

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.

5 Steps To Get Where You’re Going

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You want to be top of mind. You want to have more volunteers. You want to raise more money. Because you want to continue providing your programs and services in your community, today and well into the future.

How to get where you’re going:

  1. Know where you want to be. There’s no point in just keeping busy with activities. Figure out where you want to be and focus your efforts toward that end.
  2. Get a good understanding of where you are. Look at your revenue and expenses. Are you making enough income to cover your expenses? Evaluate your fundraising campaigns. What are your response rates? Are your appeals working? Are your events successful? Is your community engaged? Are you practicing good stewardship?
  3. Identify the gaps between where you are and where you’re going. What resources are required to get from where you are to where you need to be. Do you need to raise more money? Do you need to hire staff? Do you need to grow your volunteer program? Do you need to update your technology?
  4. Explore new opportunities and maximize the potential of your current successful programs. Based on the information learned above, explore ways to build on your successful programs, facilitate an appreciative inquiry on potential partnerships and brainstorm new campaign ideas with your team.
  5. Develop a plan to get to your organization to your desired level.  Equipped with a good understanding of your current status and the opportunities you’ve identified and agreed upon, develop strategies with timelines, authority, accountability and targets to get you there.

Involving your staff from the beginning goes a long way in ensuring buy-in and successful implementation in the long run. What other methods have worked for you and your organization?

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.

Getting Around The Next Corner

pikes-peak-highway-0152When Dad taught me to drive on curvy roads, the one piece of advice that I remember as clear as if it was yesterday is, “Always keep your eyes on the furthest point  you can see in the distance.”

Before then, curves in the road made me nervous and when I took them, it was a series of jerky movements. I was afraid I would hit oncoming traffic or end up in a ditch. My natural inclination was to focus my attention right where I was.

When I did as Dad advised, my jerky movements became a smooth ride around the curve and I ended up right where I meant to be. Bit by bit as my confidence grew in my abilities, I was able to go further and further, taking one corner at a time toward my final destination.

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I’m currently working with an amazing organization that provides a ‘next step’ for women who are transitioning from the streets. Their passion for this work is inspiring and contagious and they have garnered an impressive amount of support considering the newness of their programs and the relatively small size of their organization.

They’re ready to take the next corner. They want to engage their supporting community in a more intentional way while raising more funds to support their important work. They have a fair-sized base of supporters who want to help, but they are not sure how to present them with a clear call to action.  Also they have recently expanded and will need more donations and volunteers than they required last year.

We’ve agreed on a 3-step process that will:

  1. Help them get a good understanding of their current status by reviewing their giving history; through segmentation, trends, what’s worked well, what hasn’t worked well and discovering who their donors and volunteers are; what their areas of interests are, why they give financially, of their time and expertise, etc.
  2. Lead discussions based on what we’ve learned, to talk about where they need to go, brainstorm how to build on existing appeals and discuss new opportunities and ideas to increase the level of their community’s engagement in the next 12 months.
  3. Result in a 1-year community engagement and fundraising plan with timelines, areas of accountability and targets; a plan they can feel excited and empowered to implement.

If you only look at where you are, you will end up no further ahead than when you started. It is important to know what your organization’s final destination is; your vision for an engaged community – what it will look like when you finally arrive. Look at ‘the furthest point you can see’ and curve by curve work your way toward the final destination.

How do you prepare for the future?

What successful strategies have you employed to get around the next corner?

The purpose of The Other Bottom Line is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.