Thursday, May 9, 2013

Spring Cleaning

In and outside of the world of education, the pace of most businesses seems to slow down a bit as the days lengthen and the school year draws to a close. Certainly, there are pushes to close the fiscal year well, for those who wrap up in June, or solicitations surrounding special events like graduation. But overall, it seems to me, we have a little more bandwidth to be strategic and do some spring cleaning. Plus, there is something in the air this time of year that makes me want to clean up and get organized!
Whether you’re about to start a new fiscal year or you’re halfway through one, set aside some time to take inventory, assess progress, celebrate successes, and identify areas for improvement.
Some of those areas for reflection might be:
  • Products and services – Have we received feedback from our gift officers about the services we provide? Do they think we are providing relevant information in a useful format? Is there an area where further training or focus would be beneficial? Without slowing down to think strategically about implementing changes, these things can go overlooked for a long time. Also, reflect back over the last several months and think if you’ve identified an area for improvement. Now is a great time to plot out a strategy to make your idea a reality.
  • Prospect management – Have we reviewed our gift officers’ portfolios recently? Is there some basic data clean-up we can do to more accurately reflect where donors are in the pipeline? Now is a great time to talk to our gift officers about how we can be most helpful in moving their prospects forward. Do they need help with prospect identification, capacity estimation, or something else?
  • Hopes and dreams – A year (or two! or five!) from now, is there something you hope your shop will be able to accomplish? Maybe you’d like to be proficient with a new resource, upgrade a database, or expand your team. Hopes and dreams will remain exactly that until we have a roadmap that will get us there and the audacity to set out and follow it. What plans do you need to make now to get your shop or institution to where you want it to be in a year?

I hope you can carve out some time in the coming days or weeks to give these ideas some thought. What other questions would you ask yourself or your team as you reflect this spring?

Caroline Rossini, Treasurer, APRA MidSouth

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