"Every year I start a development plan, but never really get it finished. I usually get caught up in the next grant, event or direct mail piece that needs to get done! Any advice for completing a plan? Thank you!"

Great Question! And, no worries…in our consulting work we hear this all the time, so you are not alone! There is usually little to no time left to actually put our game plan on paper. However, we do know that a good plan can grow revenue, identify and ease workload issues, and unify staff efforts.

Here’s a few tips from the M. Gale & Associates team on getting your plan done:

  1. Pencil yourself in! Set a weekly time on your calendar, title it Development Planning. But don’t work from the office if possible. Schedule this time first thing in the morning before you go in and get caught up in the day’s task list!
  2. Be flexible. While you want to complete the plan, keep in mind that just like a good business plan, a good development plan is a guide and needs to be somewhat flexible to allow for opportunities that may arise!
  3. Make a withdrawal from your time bank. By carving out some time for planning, you’ll quickly realize those activities or events that drain your time and are least effective. Planning will determine where your time is best spent and most effective.
  4. External Motivation. We all have that one part of our job that we hate to do. Is it filing? Grant writing? Newsletters? Think about whether planning is yours. If it is, ask your team, colleagues, or boss for some external pressure to get it done.
  5. Keep it short! Plan in phases. No need to start with the whole master bedroom remodel when maybe just a new bedspread will accomplish a short-term goal!
  6. Hot time, Summer in the City! Summer still seems to slow things down just a bit in the development department. This may be a good time to take a cool off-site retreat with your team to plan and rejuvenate.
  7. Seek Counsel. There are three reasons M. Gale & Associates does a lot of development planning: lack of staff time, the need for outside perspective, and assistance translating current activity into measurable goals that executive directors and board members can understand and support.