Ready or not, 2015 is here! If you want to achieve dramatic results this year (and who doesn't?) ask yourself these 5 questions:
1. What can I learn in the next three months that will improve my grantmaking for the remainder of the year? You might need to conduct an evaluation, retain an expert advisor, or spend the day reading articles and listening to podcasts about a certain topic. Armed with new insight, you will be better prepared to allocate your talent, time and resources, and achieve more dramatic results.
2. What holds me back? Identify and eliminate it. If you are overwhelmed by email, commit to reaching "Inbox Zero" by the end of January. Do you have a poverty mentality, believing you don't deserve or can't afford something that would greatly improve your work experience? Are you hesitant to seek a promotion because you fear you don't have the leadership skills? Hire an executive coach, talk to a therapist, take a class -- do whatever it takes to move past this self-created hurdle so that you can be happier and accomplish more.
3. How can I empower my staff? From the vice president of programs to the administrative assistant, your staff could have greater impact if they felt they had the authority and the training to do so. This could involve increasing program staff's budget and grantmaking authority, eliminating bureaucratic hurdles within your operation, training assistants in customer service and allowing them to resolve problems, or re-thinking your entire HR function to strategically develop leadership at all levels of your foundation. The changes can be big or small, and the best source of ideas is your staff.
4. What can I share? You've benefited from the wisdom and knowledge of experts, nonprofit leaders and community members who helped you shape your grantmaking strategy. Now it's time to pay it forward by sharing what you've learned with colleagues who can benefit from your insight. Write a case study or create a funder toolkit to share what your foundation has accomplished, what you've learned, and what you would do differently.
5. If I could only accomplish one thing this year, and it was to be my legacy at this foundation, what would it be? That really gets to the heart of it, doesn't it? You might be at your organization for the next 10 years, but what if this was your last year? What do you really want to accomplish? For what do you wish to be remembered? Write it down, schedule time in your calendar, retain the help you need, and go do it.
For more tips and ideas to give confidently and achieve dramatic results in 2015, listen to my podcast series on iTunes, or check out my articles on topics such as "Oops I Forgot to Evaluate," "Supercharge Your Grantmaking Strategy," and "20 Ways A Consultant Can Make Your Life Easier".
Kris Putnam-Walkerly, MSW, is a national philanthropy expert and advisor. To learn more visit my website at http://putnam-consulting.com/.