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Planning hasn’t been a natural activity for me. Once I started planning, I saw the results and it became an obsession. What results could possibly make this planner phobic into planning obsessed? I have four reasons to plan: it saves time, it saves money, it provides focus, and it moves your goals forward. For nonprofits, planning is the number one low cost activity you can do to increase your funding.

The process itself is time-consuming. It will take a day or two to complete an entire process. The time savings comes in all year long when you don’t have to take a day or two every so often to decide what to do next. Once you plan your year, you work your plan. If a project doesn’t take as much time, you know what to move on to next (or you have some breathing room). Planning your work keeps you productive and creates space to be creative and have ideas flow.

 

Planning Saves Money

 

Planning allows you to set up a budget and as Dave Ramsey says, “tell every dollar where to go”. You can see what is possible with your income and what is not right now. Budgets always save money when they are followed. By planning, you can see when you may need to move a project to keep expenses in check.

 

Planning Provides Focus

 

Planning your goals and activities provides focus. Your organization will be unified and focused on what moves you forward. You can focus on the activities you plan and not get caught up in the “ooo shiny” syndrome and pursue activities that don’t move you forward. Forbes has an article that gives you five reasons goal setting improves your focus.

 

Planning Moves Your Goals Forward

 

Setting goals, planning the action steps to achieve those goals, and setting accountability into the plan increases the odds that you will accomplish the things you set out to.  A recent study by Psychology Professor Dr. Gail Matthews showed that 76 percent of participants who wrote down their goals, actions and provided weekly progress to a friend successfully achieved their goals. Can you imagine having an organization in 6 months or 12 months that is self-sustaining and functioning? Can you imagine no longer putting your own personal funds into the organization? It can happen. You have to set goals and plan your action steps.

 

Alesha’s note: In the coming weeks, I’ll walk you through setting goals for your organization. Join the conversation on Facebook and more training in the group At the Top: Small Nonprofit Leaders.

 

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