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Does Your Organization Need a New Vision for the New Year?

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With the holidays swirling around us, it is difficult to stay focused on your organizational vision for the year ahead. But leaders know that this is what they must do.

Let us assume that the president and the Republicans bring us back from the brink of the fiscal cliff, and that the charitable deduction remains intact. What then? Where should you steer your organization in the coming year?

Here are some of the factors you might consider as you think about how best to position your organization for success in 2013.

1. The economy continues to recover, if more slowly than any of us would like. But people seem reluctant to open their wallets except when it comes to disasters like Hurricane Sandy. How can you encourage them to be more generous?

2. The pace of technological change is faster than ever. Have you paid enough attention to Internet giving, mobile technologies, and crowd sourcing as a funding mechanism? Are you devoting enough resources to these innovations?

3. Have you thought about the other organizations that run programs similar to yours lately? What are they doing differently than they did a year ago? What can you learn from their successes and/or failures in the past year?

4. Have your considered your organization's positioning recently? Does it need to be updated or tweaked to help you stand out? Can you state your organization's positioning in a few snappy sentences? If not, you might work with your team to come up with this statement.

5. Despite the power of the Internet, raising big funds remains a person-to-person enterprise. Are you paying enough attention to your best fundraisers? Do they need an extra pat on the back? A few kind words to let them know how much you appreciate them can go a long way toward motivating and retaining them.

6. When was the last time you looked at your strategic plan? Do you look at it at all? If you do, congratulations! If you don't, it might be time to take it down from the shelf and dust it off. And if you don't have a three-year plan at all, do not procrastinate any longer! Research shows that organizations with written plans are significantly more successful in achieving their goals than those that do not have plans that they reference and update often.

These questions are my holiday gift to you as an organizational leader. I would love to know if they have been helpful to you as you think about 2013. Happy New Year!