New Years Eve can be something of a bittersweet holiday.  As you look back on fond memories you may smile and laugh, but you may also feel a bit sad that those times are now behind you. At the same time, there is a whole new year awaiting with plenty of its own mysteries and adventures.  This realization can be both exciting and overwhelming.  What will 2015 hold for you or your organization?

At Civic Support we decided to take a look back on 2014 before we started planning for 2015.  Since writing out 14 things we learned seemed rather exhausting, we focused on four of the big lessons we took away.  In red are our favorite memories from 2014.

 

1. Success= Self Motivation

This may seem obvious, but it’s all to easy to point fingers when things don’t get accomplished.  You can say “that client didn’t pay on time” or “this project wasn’t what we agreed upon”, but at the end of the day a failure to complete is a failure to complete.  Self motivation isn’t always easy, especially when you’re your own boss.  Yet this year we’ve discovered that leadership means stepping up and taking action; not just delegating tasks to others.  The greatest example of this lesson for us was filing the IRS paperwork for 501c3 designation.  Unable to afford legal council it was certainly a lesson in self motivation and self teaching!  It’s been one of our more successful lessons in 2014.

2.  Sometimes You Should Shoot Your Friends with Lasers10675558_1044177835609385_7788053021920279204_n

An odd title, but here’s the underlying theme: Make sure that you sometimes stop to have fun and that you thank those who support you.  In our case this has meant taking our team of interns to play laser tag at the end of the semester.  It’s a lot of fun and guaranteed for some good laughs and memories.  But whatever it is you do, know that it is absolutely worth taking the time to “smell the roses”.

3.  3 Words: Project Management Systems

The one piece of technology that has been truly transformative to our processes this year is a project management system called Asana.  This free system allows us to organize our many client and personal projects and assign tasks to our staff.  We could write a long essay describing its merits, but if you don’t already have a project management system we suggest you put it on your organization’s “To Do List” for 2015.

4.  You Get By With a Little Help From Your Friends10172804_896184423742061_7462540497243352673_n

2014 has truly been a year of building friendships with other local nonprofits.  We joined SouthCoast Serves and have already made so many new connections, all of which have great ambitions for the region.  But our old friends have also given us great support.  The Education Compact invited us to present at a grant workshop, AHA! allowed us to be a guest vendor for our Holiday Open House/ Shelter Drive, and CUSP continued to work closely with us as steadfast believer in our vision.

Aside from the organizations we worked with, 2014 was filled with personal friends/ supporters who came to our fundraisers, supported our Shelter Drive, helped us win funding from DoJiggy, and even volunteered to help organize events.  We are truly lucky to have such loyal friends, and the value of those friendships was not lost on us in 2014.

 

Next year we have a lot of new goals to reach such as being awarded grant funding, solidifying our board, working with more nonprofit clients, and hosting a bigger fundraiser.  However, it was quite therapeutic looking back before looking forward.  Have you done the same with your organization?