October BreakFACTS: Punch Plans, Fast Tips, and Asks

Written By: Erin Leo

The Wright Brothers succeeded in the daunting task of flying the first powered airplane, where a better-funded and better-equipped team did not. Why? Because of their passion, vision, determination, and their unfailing ability to mobilize people into action.

Attendees at the October BreakFACTS, “Implementation Strategies: Reaching Your Goals with Limited Resources,” left with the crucial message of smaller nonprofits’ ability to achieve their goals through new ways of looking at resources they already have. The workshop was led by Tabitha May-Tolub and Karin Firoza of Roots and Wings Training and Consultation.

The morning began with attendees taking an inventory of the tools already in their respective “toolbox,” such as volunteers, experience, the community, media outlets, facilities, and different ways in which those tools could be utilized. This led to the development of “Punch Plans,” which brings together an organization’s process and product through writing out a clear set of goals for the year. Attendees were then paired up with a partner who could bring a new perspective to the brainstorming process. Tabitha and Karin also mentioned some “Fast Tips” for writing Punch Plans that included having a clear mission statement, keeping great records, utilizing any and all free resources, embracing 98%, and learning how to say ‘no’ to good ideas if they are going to get in the way of action plans.

Attendees also shared with one another resources they have used that could be useful to everyone:

MailChimp: Online email marketing solution to manage contacts, send emails and track results. Some of the many feature that attendee have utilized are the premade newsletter templates

TechSoup: connects nonprofits with tech products, services, and learning resources

SignupGenius: online tool for creating and managing group sign up lists and forms

Another great take away from the discussion was an exercise in 1-to-1 conversations concerning money, donations, and working towards an “Ask.” Sometimes nonprofits, and people in general, tend to shy away from an “Ask” because it can be difficult to navigate. How do you ask someone for their money, time, or talent? Attendees had a chance to hone their skills in making an “Ask” with a partner by following some suggested tips from the facilitators, the most important of which involves creating conversations and digging for core connections between the organization and the intended benefactor.

Overall the BreakFACTS series event was a big success. Participants had the opportunity to revisit their goals and objectives and make them clearer, while also working with unlikely partners to see other ways of approaching their goals. They were able to realize the importance of community mapping and had the opportunity to network with representatives of other organizations to continue building on the group’s collective passion for their work.

Be on the lookout for the next BreakFACTs on November 21, 2014 where we will discuss Board-CEO relationships! Register here: http://www.stonehill.edu/offices-services/cnm/programs/register-for-programs/