At least annually, consider scheduling a focused planning session with your key volunteers, then incorporate their thoughts and yours into your development calendar, goals, objectives and timetables.
The advantages to this process are numerous:
- Helps assure realistic goals and objectives based on historical data, your constituency and economic forces so goals can be challenging yet realistic
- Involves the “right” people at appropriate levels and allows for collective buy-in not only from development volunteers, but also from each responsible staff person
- Helps employees outside the development department understand and appreciate your role in the organization
- Assures everyone is results-oriented with specific, definable goals and deadlines
- Enhances accountability as clearly established objectives allow us to break tasks into manageable components with responsibilities specifically defined
- Provides the basis for a control system as once your plans are established, they can be shared, monitored and adjusted as necessary to meet objectives and deadlines
- Helps keep the priorities at the forefront while reducing the potential for “continual absorption” when unforeseen tasks are added throughout the year
- Assures a fair evaluation because comparing year end outcomes with goals results in a fair, productive benchmark for those responsible for achieving the planned objectives
- Enhances professionalism as a systematic approach to goals and objectives allows you to better understand and explain your priorities to others
- Helps raise more money because a well constructed operational plan that has assessed fundraising potential, established clear and realistic objectives, includes action plans, has effective methods for monitoring along the way, and concludes with a fair evaluation will produce the best overall results for your non-profit.