Food For Thought

by Abigail Solazzo
Happy New Year to our Chapter Leaders! A new year means a chance for a fresh start. It is often the time of year that many of us are looking forward to what is ahead and planning accordingly. This often entails making plans that include an evaluation of projects or situations, making a timeline, and determining what resources are needed to help us achieve our goals. Chapter goals and plans are no different. They require foresight and well-thought-out tactics to help support the completion of the goals and plan for the year ahead. If your chapter has not done so already, consider taking the following steps to make sure you are prepared for the year ahead. 

Member Survey – Now is a great time to distribute a member satisfaction survey. This will give your chapter time to analyze the data or responses and adjust the strategic plan or chapter goals to better serve members and meet their needs before the start of the new volunteer year. A survey template is available on ANFPConnect to help your chapter get started. 

Review and evaluate goals/strategic plan – Annually reviewing the chapter’s strategic plan or goals is always a good idea. It keeps the goals at the forefront of discussions as well as provides time to reflect on what the chapter has accomplished. Evaluate the progress and decide what needs to be done to complete them by the assigned deadline. Revise or develop tactics necessary to achieve the goal. Keep your members’ needs in mind. 

Required Resources – After reviewing chapter goals and/or strategic plan, you will need to determine what resources are required to complete the goal. Ask yourselves “what do we need to complete the goal?” It could mean more volunteers, more time, additional financial support, focus groups/surveys, or additional information and data to achieve the goal. 

Checklist/Timeline – Plans should have a timeline or checklist assigned to the tasks needed to support the goal as well. Set target dates to have certain projects or tasks completed. Send reminders to project owners and check in with them regularly to ensure they stay on schedule. Or, set reminders for yourself to complete tasks in a timely manner. A checklist template is available on ANFPConnect. 

Seek out your replacements – Take a look at when your current volunteers’ terms will end. If the term(s) end May 31, 2021, now is the time for them to begin looking for their replacement if they have not already. Current volunteers should always be on the lookout for their replacements or additional volunteers. Seek out those individuals that are engaged or looking for new challenges, or individuals that would be a good fit for the role. 

Committee and Task Force Needs – On the same note of seeking your own replacement, the board will also want to determine volunteer needs for any committees or task forces for the next volunteer year. Members of standing committees should be decided prior to June, same as all other volunteer roles. Task forces, ad-hoc committees, or advisory groups can be created as needed throughout the year but should still be included as part of the strategic plan if possible.