What’s Your Organization’s Word for 2019?

By Allison Winter, Communications Associate

The new year is quickly approaching which means setting new goals is probably on your mind. But when there are so many things your non-profit wants to accomplish, how do you choose what to focus on?

Several years ago, I was personally inspired by Lara Casey to choose a word of the year. This one word, usually picked in December, is meant to help me set my intentions for the new year. Since starting this practice, I’ve found that returning to my one word throughout the year is incredibly helpful. It keeps me from setting goals I feel like I should set, and helps me create resolutions that truly mean something.

This method works well for associations and non-profits to find focused goals, too! It helps groups move past the surface level goals, and allows you to uncover the deeper reason behind the things you want to accomplish.

While picking just one word for 365 days’ worth of goals sounds difficult, Casey provides several questions, which are easily adapted to suit a non-profit, to help us get started.

First, it’s helpful to go back to the basics and remind yourself of your organization’s purpose. Ask yourself:

  • What is our vision?
  • What is our mission?
  • What are our core values?
  • Why do we do what we do?

Once you’ve refreshed yourself on the association’s foundation, you’re then able to look to the year ahead. Ask yourself:

  • What kind of presence do we want to have in our community this year?
  • If we could envision our best year yet, what would that look like?
  • Where do we want the association to be in 50 years?
  • 2019 is the year we ______.

Through answering these questions, a general theme will begin to emerge.

Once you recognize this theme, pick three or four words that resonate with it. Then, Casey recommends to get old school and pull out the dictionary to look at the definition of each word, its origin, and its synonyms and antonyms. Finally, pick the word that you feel best encapsulates the theme revealed through your answers.

Now, remember this word when creating goals for 2019. Don’t pull goals out of thin air, and don’t plan to do something just because you see your competitors doing it. Return to your word. It will help remind you of the WHY behind what you want to accomplish and allow you to create goals that get to the heart of your organization.

Has your organization ever picked a word for the year? How did it go?

If your association is too bogged down by every-day tasks to focus on its bigger mission and goals, then contact IMI Association Executives! We are a firm of skilled professionals whose goal is to provide management expertise along with specialized administrative services to associations, societies, and other non-profits in an efficient, cost-effective manner. Submit an RFP today.

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