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Nonprofit Resources

Plan for Interruptions

By December 20, 2016No Comments

planinterruptions_horiz2016As we wrap up this year, you are probably spending some time looking back over the year to see what worked, what didn’t, what went well and what could have gone better. New Years tend to lead us in that direction…when everything is fresh and we are able to start anew. This is true even for organizations whose fiscal year begins in July…a new calendar is a new beginning. Often, we become motivated to make changes and begin planning out exactly how things are going to go in the New Year.

I often find that people spend a lot of time between Christmas and New Year’s planning for the upcoming year. I do that myself…after the hustle and bustle of Christmas, when things calm down, it is the perfect time to sit down with a pen and paper and really figure out where your organization is going in the New Year. As I mentioned, I am a planner myself and will be developing a map for 2017 during the next 10 days or so.

Some tips for planning out a New Calendar Year for Nonprofits and Ministries:

First, identify what has gone well this year. Celebrate your successes…even those that happened on accident. What did you do to create the success? How can you build on this success during the upcoming year?

Next, identify what has not gone so well. Even though it is often difficult to look back and what is not working (we tend to want to forget it and move on), we can’t learn from it unless we look at it closely. What can you do differently in the upcoming year so that you don’t have to learn the same lesson again?

Now, determine where you are going in 2017. What does success look like—will you be serving more people? Will the number of donors and donations increase? Will you be working toward increased public awareness? There is no right or wrong here, the important thing is that your organization thinks through where it is going. It is really difficult to get to where we want to go unless we make a plan to get there. Would you ever try to build a house without determining the plan of action before starting?

As you begin planning, I do want to offer a few words of caution. Sometimes, we can get so caught up in our own planning that we forget to leave room for God’s plans. Think for a minute about the birth of Jesus found in Matthew 1. Mary and Joseph had planned to get married (verse 18), but their plans were interrupted when the Holy Spirit came upon Mary and she became pregnant with the Son of God. Clearly, this was not planned, but without the interruption, where would we be today?

So, I encourage you to plan…but always leave room for God to work within your organization.

Have a Very Merry Christmas and Blessed New Year!

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