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How to Approach Setting Your Goals for 2019

I don't believe that annual goals should be set and then left to grow dusty until the year comes near to close. 

I know that this belief has become stronger over the years due to the nature of wearing both grant writer and grant manager hats in my career. A proposal could have the *best* goals when originally written, but if no one was watching for progress toward achieving the goals, the final report to a funder could be an unhappy surprise for both the funded organization and the grantmaker. (Note: I can tell that I am preaching to the choir about this point!)

I believe that setting and updating goals on a predictable cadence is a meaningful practice for analyzing our progress and looking at what to adapt or pivot on; the New Year is a common cadence for revisiting goals. I follow this idea of ongoing goal setting and review with my work team every two weeks and with my own family every week by following the Scrum framework. We sit down and look at our progress toward a specific sprint goal (a sprint in Scrum is a repeatable fixed time-box during which a "Done" product of the highest possible value is created) and at the goal for the upcoming sprint to see how we need to adapt our plan and ensure we are successful in meeting the next goal. These short-term sprints all are a part of and support our annual and quarterly goals.

Individual Goals
Perhaps you are wondering what goals we can/should set for ourselves as grant professionals to help strengthen our work overall, whether we are an employee or a consultant.

I wrote just a few weeks ago in the Grant Professionals Association's blog about how I think serving as a grant reviewer is a professional development opportunity that makes a great goal for your annual goal setting with your employer or for yourself if self-employed. (If you missed that post, you can read it here.) Serving as a grant reviewer would indeed, make an excellent personal performance/professional development goal.

Perhaps you are interested in learning more about compression planning through the Compression Planning Institute to help facilitate community collaborations and strategic visioning conversations in organizations.

Or yet another goal could be that you are planning to submit your eligibility packet through the Grant Professionals Certification Institute process to potentially become a Grant Professional Certified in 2019.

Organizational Goals
Once you have set your own personal professional development goals, the next question is “What goals can/should we set within the specific work we will be doing to raise grant funds?” While these are organizational goals, they are also often very individual focused goals if there is only one grant professional on staff or serving as the consultant. What about the performance metrics that our colleagues and our organization's stakeholders are looking at? We are often being measured and judged based on our percentage of success and dollars awarded. While we can set goals that are specific to those two metrics, there are numerous other indicators of our grant seeking strategy's success and whether or not we will be able to move the needle and achieve even stronger numbers by the metrics of percent awarded and total dollars.

Are you looking for more ideas on how grant professionals can measure their success from one year to the next and expand the metrics for your annual goals beyond only dollars raised and success percentage?

You can download and watch the 45-minute free webinar, How to Start Your 2019 Grant Strategy Off Right! from Grant Professionals Association business alliance partner, CharityHowTo, that I presented in December here.

There are countless ways to approach your goals and each set of goals will look and sound different for every grant professional, depending on where they are in their career and what their organization's approach to grant seeking is. Regardless of what your specific goals are, the important thing is to have time to review and pivot as needed during the course of the upcoming year to ensure your overall success.
What goal are you most excited about setting for yourself in 2019?

Diane H. Leonard, GPC is a Grant Professional Certified (GPC) and Approved Trainer for the Grant Professionals Association. Diane and her team at DH Leonard Consulting & Grant Writing Services have secured more than $50.1 million dollars in competitive grant funds for its clients since 2006. When not working on grant applications, Diane can be found on the water in the 1000 Islands, out for a run, or drinking a strong cup of coffee.



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