Your year-end Annual Fund appeal was just mailed, donor renewals are foremost on your mind, cultivation visits litter the calendar, a stewardship event looms next week, phonathon is calling the Fall LYBUNT list again, and the holiday vacation schedule is set. You’re busy!
Too busy to plan another meeting, right?
Not so fast…there’s a critical meeting left to add to your busy schedule. One that is more significant than anything else you’re working on right now: The Midyear Advancement Review.
Far too often, the busyness of the season keeps us from an activity that will determine more of our second-half-of-the-year success than any other. We’re too busy with our real work to do a review, right?
If that’s your mindset, I get it. I’ve been there. But pausing to review where you are and spotlighting adjustments needed during the second half of the year is vital. Even more, gathering your team for a midyear review has benefits far greater than just readjusting your plan.
Here are some overlooked benefits of a midyear review.
- Celebrating successes. You have many things to celebrate. I guarantee it. Probably more than you are even aware. Take the time before the calendar year flips to celebrate and recognize all that your team has accomplished so far. This has a dual purpose: 1) it’s motivational for your team and boosts their energy/momentum for the second half of the year, and 2) it provides you with tangible examples of how your Advancement operation is making a difference for your institution. How often do we take the time to celebrate our successes? And how often do we share these examples outside of our team? Here’s a great opportunity to do just that.
- Team-building. Peter Drucker was famous for saying, “Culture eats planning for breakfast.” A bad or misaligned culture always sabotages a good plan. The midyear review gives you an opportunity to affirm your current culture – those shared values you and your team strive to exhibit every day. Or it gives you an opportunity to work on changing your culture if it has veered off-course. Assuming your team knows what you value because you’ve written it down and talked about it, doing team-building around this requires nothing more than asking the question, “take a moment to share an example of when a team member lived out one of our values.”
- Enhancing communication. In most cases, communication challenges arise simply because we’re so busy carrying out our duties and responsibilities that we simply forget to communicate key information at the right time. It’s almost never purposeful when we leave people out the loop. But unfortunately, hard feelings develop when someone feels under-informed and not an active part of the team. The bottom line of successful communication is this: the better you know the people you work with, the more successful you will be in communicating effectively. A key objective of the midyear review should be to put people together who don’t normally work together so they can get to know one another better.
- Educating team members. While you’re gathering for a review, why not advance the group’s education? For example, your midyear review could focus on learning three things: 1) more about your work together, 2) something relevant and important to the institution (presented by a person outside of Advancement), and 3) more about each other. On that latter point, take the time prior to your meeting to have everyone complete an assessment like Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or the DiSC Personality Test, and then talk about how your different personalities align and/or clash with others. Knowing more about each other helps us work better together.
Without a doubt, there are many great reasons to gather for a midyear review that goes beyond updating progress and planning for the second half. These are just a few that you can incorporate into a well-thought-out, meaningful agenda.
No midyear review on your calendar? That’s okay…there’s still time to get it scheduled! Even if this meeting happens in the early part of the second-half of your year, it will provide lasting value and have a tangible impact on your year-end results.