Ep 232 | Breaking Down Your Annual Plan Into Manageable Chunks
Are you someone that loves to plan, but the execution feels overwhelming? Let's break it down into manageable chunks. We don't have to think about EVERYTHING all the time. It's putting it together to that you know where to focus and get the most important things done.
What you'll learn:
→ tying things back to your goals.
→ how to break up goals quarterly.
→ planning you big three for the week.
→ breaking down your daily tasks.
Want to skip ahead? Here are key takeaways:
[2:06] Ensure you have goals lined out. When you have SMART goals you can easily track and identify what's working and what's not. Starting with specific goals will help you understand how to prioritize tasks.
[3:30] Tak your annual goals and break them down into quarterly tasks. What needs to happen in each quarter to hit your annual goals? From there- break it into 6-week goals.
[6:00] Weekly, break your tasks into the big three you need to accomplish. This won't be everything you need to get done, but are the three things that will make the biggest impact on where you're going.
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[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] If you're anything like me, you love to plan, but the execution part sometimes feels overwhelming. You have all these big goals. But now how do you actually get them done? That is the tricky part. Because without the action, your plans are just plans and they're not going to execute themselves. Wouldn't that be nice? So in today's episode, I'm going to help you with some strategies for breaking your big plan into manageable chunks and keeping your team and board moving along with you. How do you make sure everybody continues to work towards the goal that we set without kind of getting distracted, especially as you get kind of halfway or, you know, three quarters of the way through the year, things have shifted and moved. And sometimes that's okay. But sometimes you look back at the goals you set for your organization, and they don't align with where you've been headed this whole time. So today, I'm going to share some tips for all of that so that you can have your fundraising, your marketing goals, your program goals, all pulled together, and make sure the whole team is moving forward in a concerted effort and working towards that big picture.
But before we get into it, this episode is brought to you by our digital marketing therapy sessions. If you need some support from me, one on one to work through some of these goals and aligning your marketing strategies with your fundraising plan or with anything else that you have programmatically that you have coming up in 2024. This is a perfect way to do that. Their 30 minute one on one sessions with me and we can talk about anything that you need to talk about, you can book them at https://thefirstclick.net/officehours And I can't wait to see you there. Let's get into the episode.
[Intro] You're listening to the digital marketing therapy podcast. I'm your host, Sami Bedell-Mulhern. Each month we dive deep into a digital marketing or fundraising strategy that you can implement in your organization. Each week, you'll hear from guest experts, nonprofits, and myself on best practices, tips and resources to help you raise more money online and reach your organizational goals.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] So it all starts with your big picture goal. What are your big numbers, we're gonna raise x amount of dollars this year, we're going to serve X amount of people, this is how we're going to do it, we're going to, you know, set things in place for a capital campaign, we need to work towards getting a new building we want, whatever it is, whatever are the SMART goals, right, the actual specific goals that you have for your organization. Hopefully, you now have a fundraising plan behind it. This is how much money we need to raise from the various streams in order to get there. And hopefully you have a rough marketing plan for where you're going to show up how you're going to show up, and how you're going to get the enrollments, the new donors retain the donors, all of the things so you have that rough thing in place, I can still feel daunting. And sometimes different departments might move in different ways without really talking to each other. And so let's break it down. So that we can make sure that we are staying on track and building in time and space to pivot if we need to. Things happen, right COVID flipped things on their heads. Something major can happen in the news, right. And depending on the people you serve, it can make a huge impact on the work that you're doing and how you do it. So things change. And we want to make sure we have space in to pivot. This isn't like a hard line, we must stay laser focused. But we want to stay as focused as possible, so we don't get distracted. So the first thing that I like to do when we have an annual plan is kind of break it into quarters. So what is gonna happen in q1, q2, q3 q4. So this would be placing things like your big fundraising events, or an enrollment period. Or just when you kind of know there are times of year that are busier, like what's your flow in your organization, and let's kind of plot those things, those big buckets in each of those quarters. So you know what's happening. And then we're gonna kind of reverse engineer from there. So let's just take your big gala, for example. It might happen in April. So now we know q1, one of the big things we're going to be working on is getting everything in place, all the logistics, all the sponsorships, all of the things, right, that's going to be a big bucket item for q1. Maybe another big bucket item is getting ready for a spring appeal. Or maybe it is that you've determined that you need to set up some welcome sequences for your existing donors or a newsletter, whatnot to continue to retain those donors. So maybe that's what we say, are our big picture items for q1. There are always things that are going to happen on a regular basis, right? Like hopefully, you're contacting random donors. Maybe you have a list of 10 that you're going to be calling every week just to say, Hey, how are you? Things like that. Those are all going to happen all the time. So once you kind of have those big bucket items in your calendar, then you can at least get super specific for q1 but it makes Sit easier, because you're not thinking about all of the things that are happening, right? You're thinking about how do we work through this chunk of things. So then you can get either a six week plan or a 90 day plan. And you can get very specific on those things, what are the things that I must do in order to accomplish what I need to do this quarter. So these again, are going to get drilled down and drill down and drill down. So we don't want to get too specific, right? So if it's planning for your big event, maybe January or the first six weeks, or the first 90, or the first six weeks is talking about solidifying sponsors, solidifying venue event logistics, blah, blah, blah, then the second six weeks is focusing more on registration, marketing, communications, getting people registered, you know, you get what I'm saying. So you have now your quarter plan that's been broken into six week plans. And then on a weekly basis, you're going to look at that six week plan and say, Okay, well, now, this is what I have to do this week in order to stay on track for my six week plan. And then every day, you're gonna say, Okay, well, these are the three big things that I have to get done today, in order to stay on track for my weekly goal, which is gonna get me to my six week goal, which is going to get me to my 90 Day goal. Okay? Does that make sense. And this is really something that I learned from two people, one Amber McHugh, and I'll link these up in the show notes at the first click dotnet slash 232 Amber McHugh. And then the full focus planner has really helped me kind of pull my brain out and helped me really execute. So now when I sit down to work each day, I have my list of things that I'm going to do. Well, let me back up. Sunday's Fridays, Sundays are Monday mornings are when I plan just depends on what my week is like. And I'm going to take a look at my six week plan, my take a look at what I did last week, and I'm gonna make my week plan, I'm gonna make my big three for the week. And then from that, I'll look at that and, and kind of start to map out what I'm going to do each day. So for example, I know I have podcast episodes that need to release every week, I don't want to record one every week, right? We want to record a couple of them at a time. So today, I'm recording two. So I will say, okay, look, based on my calendar, I need to schedule two more podcast episodes in order to stay on track with our publishing schedule. So I can do that on Tuesday. So I'm gonna go ahead and write that down. Tuesday is the day that I'm going to do that I'm gonna block it on my calendar, you might have tasks that you can control tasks that you can't.
But I know exactly kind of when I'm going to plot those big three things that I need to get done that week to make it easy. Then each day, I'm gonna look at my day and say, Okay, well, these are the three things that I have to get done today. Everything else is a bonus. If I get these three things done, then I'm winning, right? Give yourself that pat on the back and celebrate, be specific. So don't say things like I'm going to create, I'm going to create an email sequence, maybe that's too much, maybe it's I'm going to write the first three emails from the sequence. And if you are in a flow, and you want to do more, by all means do more. But give yourself that space to be successful and get things done, you know, the timeline, and you know, when it has to be created. So help yourself be successful and feel those wins and give yourself that space to be able to be a little bit flexible, the donor calls, or there's an A minor emergency in the software shuts down. You know, Facebook goes down and all of a sudden you can't schedule things and you've got other things that you can do and you can kind of move around them. So then you can go back and reflect. Did we get everything done in our six week? How do we need to move forward XYZ, I like to do my like I said daily planning or my weekly planning, usually either on Friday afternoons or Sunday afternoons, do my daily planning first thing in the morning, and then I do my monthly planning the last week of the month to plan and set me up for the next year, or the next month. And then usually like halfway through the last month of the quarter is what I'm going to plan in detail for the next quarter. Maybe if you have a bigger program, maybe it's in the beginning of the third month of the quarter. This is just a great way for you to stay on top of it, remind yourself of what your goals are all the time and keep moving forward. Now the other piece to this, like I mentioned, sometimes we have to pivot is building in time for reflection. And however often you want to do this totally fine, but I love it if you at least on a quarterly basis, maybe even monthly. individually. everyone on your team can sit down and reflect on what worked well. What didn't work. Well. What do we want to do more of what do we need to let go of what's on my plate that shouldn't be on my plate and those kinds of things. So reflecting individually and then coming together as a team and reflecting all together, um, you'll learn a lot about what people are spending time on where they're frustrated. And then again, like I mentioned, sometimes things go way better than we expected, sometimes things don't hit the mark. So these are great opportunities for you to say, Okay, well what needs to change? What do we need to address so that you don't get to your end and realize, oh, my gosh, we have this huge shortfall, we have no idea how to fix it. You've been doing minor tweaks and changes within your marketing and within your strategies throughout the year, to ensure that you can kind of close that gap earlier than at year end, which sometimes is something, we wait and all of a sudden, we look at the books and we go, Oh my gosh, like now, what are we going to do and panic sets in, we don't want to do that. So really being thoughtful about reflecting monthly, quarterly at a minimum on where you've been and where you're going. So that you can make sure again, as a team, you're moving forward on the execution of the plan together, nobody feels out of the loop, nobody feels left out. And everybody has had a voice in why it is that we are where we're at. I think it's critical that there's no blame placed on, you know, the things that aren't going as well. And that the whole team is celebrated for things that are going really well. I think a lot of times, it tends to be very specific on the fundraising team if we're not raising money, and also just supporting the fundraising team, if we're doing really well takes a village for all of the things to happen, and everybody needs to be doing their part, even if it's somebody that is doing the one on one fundraising and doing major gift solicitation, without having the website content, or the emails or the other pieces of communication to back up those conversations. I'm not saying the gift wouldn't come, but it would be a whole lot harder for that. Because the trust and the validation isn't existing when people are going to research and look more about your company. So celebrate as a team, reflect as a team, and use it as a brainstorming session, a productive brainstorming session where people don't feel like they're going to be attacked or that it's all their responsibility, either way. So I hope that this short and sweet episode gave you some things to consider when it comes to putting your plan into action. These are just a few episodes, or a few things that we do to try to ensure that we hit our goals and that we have strategies in place. So I hope some of them worked for you. I will also link up in the show notes, some productivity podcasts that I love that might help you as well in this journey to make planning and executing less stressful. If you liked what you heard here today, I hope that you will subscribe wherever you listen and leave us a review while you're there. It really helps us get this podcast in front of more nonprofits that are struggling and need support as well. And the shownotes will be found at https://thefirstclick.net/232 So thank you so much for listening. I really appreciate it and I will see you in the next one.