By Jan McGuire
In the later years of his life, my Dad would say, "Christmas comes earlier every year." I didn't understand what he meant at the time, but now I get it. While some days may be long, time is flying by. How is it late July already?!?!
This is a great time to pause and assess where we are – and where we thought we might be - at this point in the year. From a personal perspective, I've exercised four times a week more often than not this year, managed to lose a few pounds I hope I never find again (haha), but I still haven't organized my closets (sigh). From a professional perspective, I've refreshed some almost forgotten computer skills, improved productivity through block scheduling versus multi-tasking; however, I still need to learn new software and get to that reading list.
How about you? Where are you now compared to where you thought you would be seven months into the year? Let’s hone in on work for a moment as we aim to finish the year strong.
Fall reporting: if you send endowment and/or impact reports in the fall, do you have your project timeline in place and well underway? Have you communicated your timeline to all parties involved? Think Leadership, IT, Finance, and any beneficiaries of funds that will submit impact materials to you. Have you reviewed your list of funds and donor stewardees to be sure you are aware of new funds you’ll be reporting on and any household changes of note (marriages, divorces, etc.)? If you need help with your reporting, we have an on-demand reporting course that walks you through the entire process from beginning to end (and comes with sample templates, timelines, and checklists to help keep you on track!)
Acknowledgment letters: did you hope to refresh your templates quarterly or bi-annually this year? It's not too late! Start now and have new templates in place for the new academic year or for Q4 if you're not in higher ed.
Leading up: are you keeping leadership informed of your work? Are you providing metrics per project? The number of funds reported on, the value of funds you report on, lifetime giving of donors who receive reports from your department, etc. If you're not, make time now to prepare a high-level summary of the first six months of 2021 and a brief snapshot of what’s to come in the remaining months of the year.
In with the new, out with the old: What new objectives did you hope to accomplish this year? It’s been another year of challenges, so give yourself some grace if you haven’t been able to implement new programs or processes. But is there one new thing that you could implement in the remainder of the year? Conversely, what procedure or task can you sunset this year? Even small changes can lead to improved work productivity or a more significant focus on strengthening donor engagement.
While the year is flying by, the great news is there's still time! Make time for yourself, assess personal and professional goals for the remainder of the year, and above all, hang in there! You've got this!
What have you accomplished so far in 2021, and what are you hoping to focus on the rest of the year? We'd love to hear about it in the comments below!