By Liz Menne
Whether it is the end of a quarter or the end of the year, it is vital to stop and reflect. We know what you are thinking, “Who has time to reflect? I’m already five projects behind!” We promise this is worth it and will help you in your future projects. What should this reflection cover? Well, we're glad you asked! Let’s take a walk down Reflection Road so we can hit Celebrate Avenue.
What did we complete? This might sound like a duh moment, go beyond the big projects. Think about all of the smaller projects and those always-going projects. A few thoughts are events, communication plans, acknowledgments (always!), and impact reports. Write them down as a list. You'll be surprised by what you add.
What did we start? The projects are start are just as important to track as what we finish. Knowing what is in the pipeline will help us strategize our time. Things like starting report template design, giving day communication outline, and behavior-based mailing edits are essential to add to your list.
Now put some numbers to them! We know many of you are over metrics. However, the adage “what gets tracked gets done” holds. So you might as well show off all of the great work you did. Some good numbers would be how many unique donors were in the acknowledgment process, how many pipeline donors attended our event, how many campus partners we collaborated with, how many donors read your reports, % of started projects completed, etc.
What did we have to leave behind and why? Only some projects are finished, and that's ok. However, it's still important to recall what projects we wanted (or were told) to work on but could not complete. List them out. Then record a short note on why your focus had to change. Are there any trends on what types of projects were paused or why project focus was shifted?
Lessons Learned: This comes from our Project Management friends and is missing in our fundraising world. Lessons learned “are the documented information that reflects both the positive and negative experiences of a project.” (Rowe, S. F. & Sikes, S. (2006). There are plenty of templates online if you need a guide. However, this does not have to be overly complicated. Identify the things that went well and did not, and how to work to avoid the issues in the future. While we should do this at the end of each project, doing it during this reflection time is better than never! Bonus points if you share with your partners, so they are aware are the roadblocks.
CELEBRATE!!: No matter if you do this whole reflection or just one piece, remember to celebrate you and your team for your amazing work. Eat those cookies, pop those bottles, enjoy that team lunch, and be proud!
Tell us what you're celebrating in the comments — we want to celebrate with you!