Welcome to Fiscal Year 2015!
Most of you started a new fiscal year a couple weeks ago. At this time last year, I worked in a development department. While we knew we’d hit our overall fundraising goal well in advance of end of June, there were several other goals that we were rushing to meet. A development shop feels like a newsroom towards the end of the fiscal year. Everyone is working together to meet a deadline, panicked by the pressure, but also exhilarated by the possibility of reaching that goal as a team.
In honor of the new fiscal year, I created some New Fiscal Year Resolutions:
- Be a resource. On September 1, I will join the board of APRA International. I am beyond thrilled to have this opportunity. APRA has given me so much over the years – I have met amazing and talented people who are willing to share resources and entertain the craziest of ideas about innovating our industry. As a consultant, I’ve talked with people who work in organizations of all types (humanitarian, animal welfare, public and private higher education, healthcare, international secondary schools) and all sizes (ranging from nine to 500). In addition to learning from them all, I’ve gotten to share resources and ideas with clients and at conferences. I presented 18 times in FY2014 – online, internationally, and with co-presenters. Fourteen of those took place in March and May! While I’d prefer to spread out these speaking engagements (as evidenced by my Tri-APRA post), I am even more committed to information sharing in FY2015. If your shop is doing something amazing (or crazy), I want to know about it! I’d love to share any of these great ideas with the broader prospect development community. As for my own crazy ideas, I’m still waiting for someone to establish a Prospect Incubator Team (drop me a note if you want to know more).
- Listen. As one of my unofficial mentors, John McConnell, says, the best consultants aren’t the best because they talk, they’re the best because they listen. Daniel Pink, one of my favorite management and consulting writers, agrees: talk less, listen more. A web search on this phrase reveals 308 million results! I paid a visit to www.talklesslistenmore.com and took the “Do you listen” quiz. The results? Needs improvement. Fortunately, the website also offers some tips for how to do just that:
1. Talk less
2. Be approachable & receptive
3. Give the speaker your complete attention
4. Maintain appropriate body language
5. Sincerely work to understand the message
If any of you have tips on how to improve your listening skills, pass them my way! In FY2015, I resolve to listen more than I talk. Except maybe during presentations…
- Enjoy life. This job can be hectic. In FY2014, I was locked in an airplane bathroom, I sprinted through multiple airports to make close connections, and I pulled a couple all nighters to get projects done for my clients. In spite of these stressful situations, I’ve had a wonderful time in this job. I’ve visited family and friends all over the country, and I’ve seen some amazing sites. In June, I traveled to Arizona for a client visit and stopped through Tucson to see my friends Emily and Kirk. Emily took me sightseeing up Mt. Lemmon:
It is wonderful to be able to visit so many different places and see important people in my life. I am so thankful that my job allows me to do this, and I resolve to live life to the fullest in FY2015.
- Bonus Resolution: (Can’t You) Read the Signs. I accrued 77 nights in hotels on BWF-related business in FY2014. That’s over 20% of the year! Throughout these stays, I noticed a theme of unnecessary signs/notes placed in hotel rooms and started taking pictures of them. Since my count of hotel stays will only increase in FY2015, I’m committed to capturing and sharing these humorous signs for the enjoyment of myself and others. Here’s my FY2014 collection (I’ve even titled them):
Elevator Party Denied:
Need a Haircut?
Passive Aggressive Soap:
Cause and Effect: