I can’t believe it’s that time of year again. At GrantsEdge we’re working on wrapping up all our projects for 2016 and we are thinking ahead to 2017. As we do so, we’re thinking back on the past year and all that we’ve done. One thing we do really well at Kovacs Group (and something we want to carry into GrantsEdge as well) is taking time for reflection.
As individuals, as a team, and as an organization, we always want to do our best work. We want to provide other individuals and organizations with the best grant writing supports and services possible. To be able to do this, it’s important to reflect on what we’re currently doing and what we need to be doing to achieve our goals. In this sense, reflection is all about learning. When you’re able to learn from what you’re doing (or not doing), you’re able to make the necessary changes you need to grow, to do better, and to be better.
3 Questions To Ask
As you wrap up your grant writing for the year, we encourage you to do some reflection as well. Reflect on all that you’ve done in 2016 and ask yourself the following questions:
1. What Went Well?
Ask yourself this question to reflect on the successes you’ve had this year. Maybe you got funded, brought in more than you were hoping, or discovered some new funders to approach or grants to apply for next year. It’s important to celebrate your successes, but also take time to learn from them. What did you do that led to your successes this year? Why did they work? Perhaps these are processes or ideas you should continue to implement in future years.
2.What Didn’t Go Well?
Ask yourself this question to reflect on the failures you’ve had this year or the areas you struggled with that you know could be improved. Remember that, while they may sting at first, failures are not a bad thing; they are opportunities for future learning and improvement. Maybe you heard a lot of “No” in 2016. Maybe you tried to move out of your comfort zone and apply for some new grants this year, but were still not successful. Maybe you’re spending way too much time figuring out how to write grants and it’s taking time away from other important matters. Identifying the areas you are struggling with will help you identify what needs to be done to turn those failures into successes.
3. What Would You Have Done Differently?
Asking yourself the first two questions will help you answer this one. What are you doing really well right now? Do more of that! What’s not going so well right now? Figure out what you need to do instead. Try some new strategies. Meet with the funder to ask questions instead of trying to do everything on your own. Attend more networking events as a way to search for funding or partnership opportunities. Only apply to grants where the funder’s interests match yours instead of applying to every grant you can find. Whatever the reason, figure out what you want to do differently and how you’re going to do it.
Start 2017 With A Bang
Take some time individually to reflect on these three questions. Ask your teammates (or anyone involved in your organization’s grant writing process) to do the same. Write down some ideas for each one. Then, meet with your teammates and compare notes. Decide on the strategies you want to implement in 2017 and create a plan to do so.
Asking these questions now will help set you up for a successful 2017. By knowing exactly what’s working, what’s not working, and what you want to do differently, you’ll be able to implement changes right away.
Remember, too, that reflection doesn’t need to only happen as the New Year approaches. Take time throughout the year to reflect on your progress and make adjustments to your plans as you go.
See you in 2017!