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What If Everything is a High Priority?

Many of you may remember the commercial from a few decades ago of the woman (likely a grant professional) relaxing in a tub shouting “Calgon, take me away.” If only a bath product such as Calgon, could so easily help us reduce our To-Do list and determine our highest priorities.

As grant professionals, we are always juggling multiple projects, grant deadlines, research prospects, reports and more…all of which seem to appear to be the highest priority of the day. But how do we REALLY determine our highest priorities? How can we decide what is most important on this day, this month, or this year?

Surprisingly, the same tool we use for developing grant applications, the Logic Model, can be useful for determining what is most important in our lives, whether it relates to work, home, or leisure time.

While logic models vary, they all have one thing in common: they are a graphic depiction of your project or program plan. Logic models include a clear picture of the impact of your project (outcomes), what you need to do to achieve project outcomes (activities, outputs), what resources you need (inputs), and a plan for how you know that you have achieved the outcomes (SMART objectives).
Here is an example of how this has worked for me recently. As a grant professional for over 20 years, I am often asked to serve on nonprofit boards and/or volunteer my time in other ways. As you can imagine, saying “yes” to all these opportunities, no matter how interesting, would wreak havoc on my professional and personal life. Here is an excerpt from my logic model on this issue:
Outcome: My time is spent dedicated to volunteer work that relates directly to the advancement of my profession and to the issue nearest to my family (I have child with multiple disabilities).
SMART Objective: At the end of 2018, I will be committed to no more than two organization's Board of Directors, one national and one local, (including all the committee and volunteer work), and be enlisted to volunteer at two to three events/conferences.
Activities: 1) Continue my term of service on the Grant Professionals Foundation that includes committee work, and other volunteer projects; 2) Continue my term of service on the Rochester Developmental Disabilities Giving Circle (that serves local organizations who work with people with disabilities); 3) Volunteer at the Grant Professionals Association Annual Conference; 4) Volunteer at the New York State Special Olympics; and, 5) Help fundraise for a local event whose proceeds benefit kids in Uganda with disabilities.
Inputs: X Number of hours per month specific for each board, activity, etc.; X amount of cash contribution toward each board and/or associated activity.
Because logic models are such thorough planning tools, they are ideal for managing our expectations about ourselves and our lives. When something is in writing, we can see it, hold ourselves accountable, or modify it as circumstances change. I challenge you to try this exercise with an issue in your own life.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Logic Model Development Guide sums it up well:
“The process of developing the model is an opportunity to chart the course. It is a conscious process that creates an explicit understanding of the challenges ahead, the resources available, and the timetable in which to hit the target”.
Can you think of an example in your work or personal life where the Logic Model may be useful in setting priorities?
Margit Brazda Poirier, GPC, M.S. is Owner and CEO of Grants4Good LLC®, a grant development consulting company based in Rochester, New York.
©2018, Grants4Good LLC®



By: Maryn Boess
On: 10/30/2018 16:21:56
Margit, this is great! I'm a huge Logic Model nerd and teach all kinds of planning tools in our grantwriting courses. People are always shocked to discover how valuable our "grantwriting tools" are in terms of life planning/life management and personal accountability as well. I use Logic Model thinking in my personal life but I've never seen an example laid out as clearly as yours. Just what I needed in this super-busy time (pre-election volunteering, heading into the holiday season, etc.). A breath of fresh air.
By: Grace Fendlay
On: 10/31/2018 07:50:09
Very creative use of Logic Model. I would never have thought to use a logic model to prioritize tasks and quantify limited time. Thanks for the great article and challenge.

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