Staying on top of the game: A New Year’s Reboot

By December 29, 2013planning

AFP_seminar_croppedResolutions for the Development Professional

Tis the season for resolutions, and one benefit of work-related goals is that they seldom have to do with making it to a crowded gym or avoiding what’s left of the holiday fudge.

I’m not a big one for making goals in connection with the holiday. I agree it’s good to set goals, but traditionally, New Year’s resolutions are doomed by Valentine’s Day. I’d rather not jinx an important goal by pegging it with such an auspicious start.

But, it’s good to have a goal or two, so I’ll commemorate the start of 2014 by throwing in on the whole resolution thing.

My goals for this year as a development professional include:

Dedicating Time to Creative Work – In my line of work, as is probably true of most professionals, there are always multiple urgent items competing for my attention. In 2014 I resolve to include an activity or task each day that is important, but isn’t deadline driven. It’s not that I’m against deadlines, but when I focus every day only on what’s immediately coming due, I miss opportunities for creative, strategic thought that happens when I’m not under pressure.

This year, I’m going to give myself permission to work for at least an hour a day on something that is important but not urgent. Maybe that way when the task is actually scheduled for completion, it will have had the benefit of some productive forethought and need not be rushed to completion by virtue of its backing up to a deadline.

Developing as a Professional – There are always opportunities to learn new things in philanthropy and development, even as old as the profession is. This year I’m going to dedicate two hours or more every week to developing my skills as a professional: taking a class or training or simply spending time catching up on periodicals and blogs. I’d like to become a better meeting facilitator, for example, and become better versed on planned giving. and trends in technology are always developing and expanding. Learning new things doesn’t happen for me unless I deliberately set aside time for it.

Spending more time Networking – The opportunity to interact with other professionals is one of the joys of working in this field, and is also extremely helpful in keeping abreast of current trends in philanthropy, the local giving climate, and upcoming campaigns. I’ve learned so much from my colleagues and love the opportunity to share what I’ve learned with them. In 2014 I’m going to dedicate time each week to attending a networking event, mentoring a new professional, or kvetching with a colleague.

In the Treasure Valley area these opportunities have been expanding in recent years. Organizations like the Association of Fundraising Professionals have implemented quarterly workshops with networking events. Idaho Nonprofit Center is continuing its Resource Thursdays offerings at the Boise Public Library and have announced new webinar sessions. The Boise Metro Chamber Nonprofit Council meets regularly to talk about development issues, and share resources and events.

As with anything I hope to accomplish, I’m much more likely to meet my goals if I give them specific parameters. I also encourage my clients to set SMART goals: making each one Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely wherever possible. Parameters help me track my progress and stay motivated even if that progress is incremental, so with each goal I’m going to spend time developing a schedule and specific objectives.

Are you spending any time mulling over your 2014 to dos? Do any have anything to do with your professional life? I’d love to know.

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