Greetings from GrantLessons!
Today we have our last grants committee meeting for the current fiscal year. And it has been a good year and while we will sit back and relax at a celebration at noon today, our work is never done. Writing applications for foundation grants and corporate contributions is an ongoing year round effort. We just stop once in a while to mark where we are in the process and celebrate our success and look at how we can improve. The beginning of a new fiscal year is close at hand. We have signed up for committees and our chapter is lucky in that most of our current members are staying on for another year while a couple are taking a rest and there is one new excited member. 😉
When I am sitting back and relaxing my mind goes to a familiar quality improvement model that I have used over the years to help me in my work. Some of you will recognize it from the guru Deming: plan, do, check, act. I wish overall we would all use this model in all of our Assistance League work because it helps us make progress even if it is slow.
We had a plan this year to write more applications. As you sit back with me and sip on the cup of tea at hand, what goal was set for your grants committee, do you remember? Was it to find more members? Was it to look again at new funding opportunities? Was it cleaning out the files? If you did not set a goal for last year that you can determine your progress on now, please look at what goals could be set for next year? Write the goal in the meeting minutes. The goal(s) should have a date that it is to be accomplished. The goal will be different for each chapter based on where they are at in their development.
The “Do” element of the model means we have to engage ourselves in thinking about how we are going to meet the goal as a team. We have to implement steps towards the goal(s). Something has to be done, action needs to be taken. Using shared responsibility to break the goal into small reasonable steps that each member can do helps in goal attainment.
One thing I do believe in for a grants committee to be successful the team needs to meet at least once a month. At this meeting check to see where you are at in the doing steps to accomplish your goal(s). This is where you can find out if a member who took on a step is struggling with their assignment. The struggle could be caused by many factors. If there are several members on the team they can collectively determine what other options are available to accomplish the goal and the struggling member feels supported. And the entire team learns in the process!
The last element is “Act” where the team adjusts their strategy, either taking a step backwards or forwards to move towards the goal. Periodically, a more in-depth evaluation needs to occur, certainly at least once a year.
The “Plan, Do, Check, Act” model is all about sustaining and growing our ability as a team to make a difference in our communities, many of you know it as continuous quality improvement.
When I go to our meeting today, I have a couple of ideas on how we can improve our process to raise more money for those who need our excellent programs. We never want to get stale like a piece of dried bread or complacent or burned out when there is so much that needs to be done. Try the model it can make a difference in your committee’s progress. 😉
Catch me when you can and I will catch up with you soon! Sandie