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Self-Reflection and Goal Setting: Looking Forward to a Successful 2016

By Abby Landmeier, MPA, Mgr. Community Funding & Volunteers
United Way of Mesa County
Ah, it's the end of the year—and figuring out end-of-year reporting and working with some of the deadlines that funders have set may leave us frazzled.
Coming from a small United Way, I have great empathy for all the work you are doing to make services possible in your community. Grant writing isn't an easy feat. Nabbing words to describe impact and change can be illusive, yet, day in and day out, you are doing it and others are benefiting from your work. Only a few understand our work; the autonomy can be a reward, but it can also be isolating. With this in mind, this article is geared toward self-reflection to close out the year.

What completed proposal are you most proud of this year?
  • Maybe it's a small award that led to a great relationship with a service organization. Or perhaps it was charting the complex waters of a high-stakes and very detailed proposal. Whatever it is, take time to celebrate and to see where it has led you.
What areas of your work excite you?

  • Each quarter when the print edition of Stanford Social Innovation Review arrives, I'm like a kid on Christmas. It means I treat myself to a cup of coffee and learn about the exciting areas others are exploring. I see endless connections to my work and have childlike wonder thinking, “What if we tried…?”
What proposal zapped the most energy out of you?

  • Was it a National Institutes of Health (NIH) proposal or some other government acronym?
    *First, congratulate yourself: you got through it.
    *Second, is it coming up again this year and will you need some time to recharge? Only you really know what it takes to rebound. Doing yourself the favor of setting that up in advance helps.
What individual funder presented the greatest challenge?

  • Confession: even though I am a funder, I realize relationships with a funder can present challenges. This may present time to check and see if your organization is experiencing a return on the investment made with the funder. It also presents the time to ask if they funder is changing focus and to see if your organization is going to be a continued fit.

What would you like to learn more about this coming year?
  • The important thing: it feeds your work. Some times the last thing we want to do is take time for ourselves. We may wrongly be led to think that we should be spending our time working. This time to recharge doing something completely different from your day-to-day work will nourish your creativity and passion.
Sketch out what you'd like to do for professional development.

  • GPA offers great articles as well as a yearly conference (hint, hint).
  • Maybe it's teaching something you have a knack for—teaching reinforces our learning greatly.
Most importantly: congratulations on closing out the calendar year. May 2016 be a wonderful year full of new successes and new learning opportunities for you!