Gail Bower's Blog

Gail BowerThis blog will help you and your organization flourish.

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Happy New (Fiscal) Year! Start with Strength

Now more than ever, no matter what your role is in an organization, prioritizing time to reflect, evaluate, recalibrate, and even let go of activities and priorities is essential. 
The pace of life, along with the sheer quantity of tasks and information, has the great potential to keep us distracted. 

Are you heading in the right direction?

If you don’t stop to reflect and refocus, you could look up one day and find yourself entirely off trajectory, like a rocket hurtling into space off just one degree and bound for a different solar system. 
It will be a costly mistake to undo, causing lost revenue, missed opportunities, and enormous frustration. 
So the good news is, you’re here today, reading this article, and taking time to reflect. Perhaps you just started a new fiscal year. Maybe you’re wrapping one up. Or if you’re on a calendar year, you’ve just launched the second half of your year.
For just the next few minutes, let go of whatever you focused on before you opened this article.
Let’s take a thoughtful look at your organization with no judgment. Consider these questions designed to bring awareness, like shining a flashlight on a dark corner.

Gail Bower’s Guide to a Powerful New Year.

The Sufi poet Rumi wrote one of my favorite concepts: “What matters is how quickly you do what your soul directs.” So let’s start with you.
  • Are you happy?  
  • Are you enjoying what you’re doing? 
  • Do you feel challenged?
  • What are you most proud of?
Review the Last Year 
  • How did the year go? 
  • What worked well, and what didn’t? 
Strategic goals
  • Did you accomplish your goals or not? 
  • If yes, what made the difference? 
  • If no, what held you back? 
  • What can you do differently for the new fiscal year?
Now take a look at your programs and other initiatives.
  • Did your organization make progress on mission impact as you expected?  
  • How did you do on your budget, on both the revenue side and the expense side?
  • If something was askew, what happened?
  • Or why were you successful?
  • Are you facing any changes internally or externally next year that will affect your budget?
  • When I work with clients around strategy, sustainability, or creating new revenue sources, I take them through an exercise to measure profitability and impact. Factoring in all your costs, which programs are both profitable and driving your mission? 
  • What do you need to improve the other programs?
  • Where do you need to cut losses?
Audience growth
  • Is your database growing or contracting?
  • How about the number of donors?
  • And the number and size of gifts?
  • What feels unfinished about this year?
  • Does it need to be finished?
  • Is there a reason to continue?
  • Is there something that you need to accomplish first?
  • Do you know where you’re going in the new year: how will you continue success?
Use this checklist to evaluate your organization, or even your department, to get focused for the next fiscal year. Next also identify the following:
  • What resources do you need?
  • What technology do you need?
  • What professional development or capacity building do you need?
Be sure to budget for these needs. If you’re not investing in yourself and your organization, how will you face new challenges and move beyond your current position?
Take the time to wrap up the past year and thoughtfully begin anew. As you make new plans or recalibrate to address shortcomings, don’t be afraid to let go of mindsets, plans, strategies, and even programs, products/services, and initiatives that no longer work.
Have a great year.


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