First and foremost, this article is an excellent reminder that we should all be taking care of ourselves and attending to our health. It also serves as prompt to organizational leaders that, if you haven’t already, it is time to start to get “back on track” and focus on priorities that you may have deferred due to the pandemic or that have arisen over the course of the last two years.
Here are some key areas that may be on your list for “deferred maintenance.”
- Program Evaluation
Whether you want to know if long standing programs or those created or adjusted during the pandemic are effective, efficient, and are having the impacts you want – now is a good time to step back and systematically evaluate programmatic effectiveness.
2. Needs Assessment
How is your organization allocating its precious resources? What are your organization’s priorities and are there areas for improvement? Conducting a needs assessment is the best first step toward answering these key strategic questions. A needs assessment can involve data collection like interviews and surveys with key organizational stakeholders (i.e. board members, recipients of services, beneficiary agencies, etc.). The synthesis of that data can then help your organization determine unmet needs, inefficient use of resources, gaps between the organization’s vision and implementation – just to name just a few.
3. Strategic Planning/Strategic Visioning
Do you have a strategic plan that you’ve been meaning to update, or have you had to pivot to adjust your plan due to the pandemic? Either way, now is the time to “plan to plan.” Begin thinking about what your organization might need to recalibrate or move forward purposefully. Is a full plan required or can the leadership of your organization revisit an existing strategic plan and amend and adjust as needed? Consider the timing of when you want to start your planning and identify the initial steps that your organization should take to initiate the planning process.
4. Summer Retreat
Part of getting “back on track” is returning to best practices. The summer (or early fall) retreat is an ideal opportunity for team members (volunteers and professionals) to recharge, celebrate successes, strengthen your team, and think collaboratively about the year to come.
A final point: Keep in mind that taking care of yourself and investing in your organization are essential to both your personal and organizational health and well-being.
Linda Mann Simansky is a non-profit consultant who specializes in organizational needs assessments, strategic visioning, leading focus groups for organizations and their constituents, and program evaluations. She is a partner in Working Wonders and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.