Setting up your Systems for Better Mission Fulfillment

This transcript was creating using AI. We apologize for any disrepencies.

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 0:00
Hi, I’m Jeff. Okay, everybody, welcome to our December training. We have the wonderful Megan freeze. Oh, Megan Finn, you just got married. Am I supposed to call you Megan Fraser? Megan,

Megan Finn 0:14
Megan. I’m trying to roll it out. So, Megan,

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 0:18
I’ve known her for a long time. So this is a new, new thing for me. But anyway, welcome to our December workshop. My name is Sammy, and I am the co founder of the nonprofit boot camp along with my business bestie. Here, Patrick Kirby, you want to say hi,

Patrick Kirby 0:34
hi, friends, how are you? Happy December, welcome to another guest expert training in the works, this one’s gonna be a good one. I’ve had we’ve had this on the calendar for a while or in our brains for a while. And so this is kind of a fun one to roll up not only at the end of the year, but to get everything kind of rockin for 2023, too. So excellent choice for watching this.

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 0:55
I love it. So Megan is going to talk to us about systems, which I think is one of those things that we always say in our heads, I need to do better at this, I need to do better at this, I need to do better at this. But then we don’t I am somebody who does that as well. So she’s gonna give us some great tips for how we can utilize some of these systems to make our life easier, and really allow us to focus on the mission that we’re here to serve, instead of all of the other things that we don’t want to do. So I’m gonna let you take it over Megan, and share your screen and just have at it.

Megan Finn 1:27
All right, well, thank you both for allowing me to be here today. I’m super excited. This is like the perfect time of the year to get planning going. And I think Sammy hit a nail on the head right there with, there’s always more we can do. It’s kind of like education, there’s always something we’re doing to kind of learn the next step and go to the next phase and like next level that we’re going to. So I’m going to share my screen here, and we’ll hop right in. So my name is Megan freespin. Still trying to get used to that. But I have a consulting company called frenzy to freedom. And I largely work with nonprofits, as well as business owners, so helping leaders to create more efficiency and effectiveness with their systems. And I largely do that around people and processes, and finance. So doing budgeting and strategy. And today, we’re talking about systems for better mission fulfillment. So how do we keep more of that money that we’re, you know, getting from donors to better fulfill our mission and do a better job with it. So I actually want to walk through three things, there’s tons of things that we can do to create these systems and take that next step. But today, we’re going to talk about planning. We’re going to talk about time tracking. And we’re going to talk about budgeting. And these are the things with most of my clients right now. It’s the end of the year, usually around October, we start to really think about where’s it we want to be? Where do we want to go? And how do we know what’s going on around us right now. So for me, I always think of, you know, if we look at the big picture, and we assess what’s going on in our world, you know what fires are blazing at us the strongest, and then figure out how to prioritize those so that we can go to the next level and do an excellent, amazing job. So you might be in a completely different situation than somebody else. And I feel like you have to have that reflection, to really understand who you are, what your organization is, who are the players within your team, and what’s the best thing for you to do next. But these are three of the things that are surefire ways to uplevel your activities. So this is a great chaotic, you know, seen, this is kind of the the thought and the reason that I built my business frenzy to freedom. So we’re figuring out how to go from that frenzy and how to go from putting out fires to creating intention and setting plans. So we’re gonna first talk about this planning activity. So we want to understand where it is we’re headed versus where we want to be. And if you’ve been in this, you know, position where you were wearing multiple hats, and you’re just putting out fires, then you might feel like you’ve never been able to step back and set a plan and create that intention. But this is a phase that you get to and you get to make a choice. You get to create the future that you want. The the vision that you’re trying to fulfill the perfect team, the you know, endgame for where you want to be and actually set this path so that you don’t just end up wherever, you know things take you. So this is just a little numbers if you’re, you know, want that reinforcement Harvard Business study found that 3% of graduates from their MBA who had goals written down ended up earning 10 times as much as the other 97% put together, just 10 years after graduation. Now, one of the things with this is that it’s not even that they spent a lot of time looking at their goals, or, you know, creating great actions from them. This is merely from the fact that they wrote them down. So that’s, it is insane, Sammy, right. So imagine what could happen if you do actually write them down and then set and create the action to fulfill them. So the first thing that I like to do is to think about, you know, what it is, we’re really wanting, and you have to think a little bit about personal life as well, it’s very hard to completely separate your personal life from your business life, they have to have some kind of interactions. So I take the opportunity, at least every year, if not every quarter, to really think about all sides of the equations. So, you know, what do I want as far as relationships as far as family time, as far as finance and, you know, owning property, you know, how what’s fitting in my life, right? Now, sometimes it might be that you’re there to lead an organization, and you’ve got this huge thing, a huge capital campaign that you’re rolling out this year. So you really have to think about what’s going on for me, you know, in the long term, and then pull it back into the short term, and understand why it is that you want those things to happen. It might be that you want to set up systems for your organization, so that you’re not the one being responsible for doing all the things so that you can hire more people and train them effectively. So that you could step away and take a vacation, or so that your organization can become more sustainable, and your vision can live on forever and ever, regardless of who is sitting in that driver’s seat. But with this, you want to get to the real why behind it. And understand what is that motivation, what’s happening, that you’re going to push through those hard times. And really, you know, buckle down and, and know that you want to make this happen. So we probably heard of SMART goals, always put this in there specific, measurable, agreed, realistic and time bound. So we want to have something that we know, is so specific, and you know, something that can happen. And within that timeframe, so usually a year, maybe a quarter, it could be longer term than that, but you have to set it down and put the actual specifics around it, so that you know when you’ve actually achieved it or not. And there’s lots of different types of goals. I’m a big fan of 10x goals. For me, I always set a goal for years and years to make this one increase. And I never quite got there like I’d always be just a little bit short from that goal. So for me, I actually found that setting things to be, you know, a little bit further out of my reach is something that’s going to push me and make me do more than I can expect, you know, my myself to do. So for me, that’s something that really works. And going back to what Sammy said about, you know, we always need to work a little bit more on this, it’s one of those muscles, setting goals is a muscle that you have to exercise. And the more you exercise that goal, that you know, opportunity to reach something, the the closer and closer you get to it, the better and better you get. And the further along in this process you go. So you really have to find the things that work best for you. failure isn’t something that we shouldn’t be necessarily afraid of. We learn from failure a lot of the time. But you can’t stop that process. You can’t let you know a failure of a goal. You know, disrupt your ideas about you know, should this go, you know, should I continue to set goals. Sometimes it means that you find a new direction, and you actually, you know, end on a better path than you did before. Sometimes you double down and sometimes you shift gears where in the last couple of years, I think we all you know have had some experiences where we’ve had to shift gears a little bit. So looking at this timeline, so I would suggest doing it for maybe a quarter so quarter one, what is it that you want to have at the end of quarter one? So we’ve got our timeline, and why do we really want it setting all of that. Now we want to picture ourselves at the end here. So in game where’s that actually take us who are we you know, what does our organization look like?

You know, how does it feel? How does it smell? How does it sound? And what are people saying, really picture yourself at that endpoint, that helps dramatically to be able to understand what it’s going to take to get there. And also to, you know, get that motivation behind things. So now that we know what we want, and why we want it, we have to kind of come up with some markers. Some people call these milestones, you can call them targets. But what are some steps along the way that are going to let us know that we are on the right path that we are on the right track? So we’ve got a milestone, maybe we’ve got two or three milestones. And within those milestones, what are the strategies that we’re going to use to get there? And the same thing for another level back and milestone, a second milestone and additional strategies, and another milestone, so within a quarter, I think having three different milestones, so that maybe halfway through each month, you have an understanding of what is what does it look like that lets you know that you’re on the right path that you’re on the right way there. And as I said, I really think it’s important to know that your while your intentions are, you know, this is the goal, this is what I want, this is what’s happening, you have to check in on these and you have to know along the way, as you get to different milestones, is this actually the thing that you want it to be? Is it going in the right direction? Or do you need to shift? So here’s an example. And I’ve worked this backwards. So we’re picturing ourselves at the very end, have 2000 more in revenue per month by the end of April. So you have to be specific, you have to tell yourself and don’t say next year, or this year, or this quarter, because it’s always going to be you know, this coming quarter. It’s like a, you know, can I pay for a cheeseburger tomorrow? What’s the thing for today, so you have to be so specific on these. So then the strategies for doing that it might be your blog, and having the content ready, getting testimonials. So these aren’t the specific things. These are the strategies, testimonials, you know, people talking about it, have clear sales equation and targets for increasing number of leads. So you can see, these are letting you know, you’re on the way there have 10k more in revenue by the end of March. The first one was have 5k more. So we have 5k 10k. And now we have 2000 more in revenue per month. So, so the strategies are the things that let you know that you’re getting there, then you have to create the action plan, right? So how do you turn this goal, and the milestones that you have into actionable items that you’re going to do every day. So if the idea was that you were, you know, one of your strategies was to get more testimonials, than it might be reach out to, Melissa, to get a testimonial this week, and maybe every week, you have a couple of action items, maybe three things that you have to get done, that are going to help you with strategies move towards your milestones, which are moving towards your goals. Now, this is where people tend to fall down is, you know, the goal setting process is often very hard. And you have to think a lot about it. And you know, becoming very specific and having, you know, results that you’re looking for is, is challenging sometimes, and I don’t think a lot of people realize that until you get into it. But the kicker is that you have to put this into action, you have to set a plan to put this into your calendar, and know that you’re actually going to fulfill it. Accountability, reviewing these regularly having them you know, front and center next to you. reminding your team if you’ve got a team that you’re working with, do you have a team meeting every week that has some of the metrics that you’re tracking? What are the things that you can use and do to make sure that the state is front and center and that everybody is working towards that same goal? Okay, so now we’re going to talk about time. So this is like the worker bees, you know, we’ve all have the time that we spend, and I feel like, you know, the majority of nonprofits, I know, it’s always about how do we increase capacity? How do we have the capacity to do more because our time is our money. And I also hear a lot of people saying, well, I can’t afford to pay somebody to do it. So I’ll just do it. That’s time, which is also money. So you have to be thinking about what does it cost to take an hour out of your day to do certain things. And that’s where it comes down to understanding that those are the, you know, the things that are necessary actions to, you know, move you towards your target to move you towards your milestones to move you toward your goals. So doing time tracking, is one of the biggest ways that I do this with my clients. And it often starts with a conversation about job descriptions. So job descriptions are the kind of thing that usually they’re there. And they exist when we first hire, but they aren’t always kept front and center. You know, people wear multiple hats. And as more people come on the team, sometimes those accountabilities get distributed to other folks. So reviewing and understanding what is in that job description. And how each role plays their part in the organization goals, is a huge game changer, for keeping your team engaged for making sure that they understand, you know, how, how their actions are participating in moving that ship forward. So doing job descriptions, I often say, do time tracking, figure out why if you were just going to put out fires all day, you were just going to do the things that you know, came up as urgent, that’s going to give you a really good indication of where you know where your role is. And if you’re, you know, in the right position, if you’re in the right place, or if you need to kind of take a step back and look at the bigger picture and figure out is this, you know, the right thing for our time to be invested in right now. Because the time is money. So I have a couple of spreadsheets that I’ll make sure that Sammy and Patrick get that have some great tracking tools for time management, as well as goal setting. But the thing is, you don’t have to have any kind of a system, you can just have a piece of paper right next to your desk. And every time you finish a task, or at the end of the day, or, you know, every five hours throughout the day, you kind of write down, how much time did I spend doing this and that, and really think about, you know, where your time is going. So do I, you know, in the morning, I’m constantly interrupted, or I’m checking my email too often, and I’m completely distracted. So if you’re spending less than 515 minutes on a task or activity, it’s probably not the best use of your time, it’s probably not effective. Your by the time you’re getting into the idea, and the focus of the workspace of a project, you’re drawn out of it. And you have to, you know, take that time to get back into it. So making sure that you’re spending your time and not, you know, pulling it into pieces, block it, you know, do you set a plan at the beginning of the day for what you’re going to work on. And try to stick as closely to that plan as you can. Or do you know, you know, you’re better in the morning, you’re more creative minded. So maybe you plan to do that blog writing or, you know, that Social Media Writing in the morning, or the finance piece, you know, management of numbers. So try to do, you know, continue or not have as many distractions as you can, finding optimal times within your schedule and for you, in your mind, block your time. And you know, make sure that that time is being spent on the things that are getting you towards your goals. You’ve probably seen this great practice as well. And I suggest doing the time tracking and using this matrix on a quarterly or annual basis with you and your team just to figure out, Am I doing the things that are important for right now or not. And this says a little blocks so you can put things into Alright, it’s urgent and important, I’m going to do it. It’s not very urgent, but it is important. So I’m gonna make a plan to do it. So that’s where I might lock some time. It’s urgent, but it’s not so important. So I’m going to have somebody else do it maybe, you know, doesn’t require my skills, but I can get somebody else to do the data entry or something, you know, that, you know, is maybe opens up my opportunity for doing something I’m more skilled at and then not urgent and not important. You’d be surprised at how many things actually end up in this area.

So it’s interesting. All right. So our next piece here is the budgeting piece. And I kind of liked this video just because it’s, you know, trying to, you know, get as much out of that loaf of bread as We can, because we’re holding on to it. And there’s a lot to be said towards planning and towards, you know, a thought of abundance, you know, figuring out, how do you plan and create that ideal future, maybe one of your goals is a budget goal, maybe, you know, creating a budget is your goal. But with a budget, it’s a plan that is a complete guess, sometimes it’s a complete shot in the dark. We want it to be based on as much data and information as we can. But we also are making plans sometimes for the first time, or, you know, we’ve got some big growth that needs to happen, or that we’re, you know, shooting for. So calculate data from prior periods, use as much information and data as you have to create that new future. And, and, you know, set that in motion, and I have some spreadsheets for this as well, that I’m happy to share. But it can be very simple. It can just be a very simple spreadsheet, you know, what is your income, the money that you have coming in? Is there anything that’s cost of goods? Sometimes for nonprofits? No? What are the expenses? So expenses and cost of goods are both, you know, money going out of the business of the organization? And then what is the net profit, which is sometimes the net loss, the net gain or net loss? And it can be as simple as just putting these in a, you know, simple spreadsheet and understanding? What are the different ways that I have money coming in? Do I have schwag that I’m selling? You know, do we have a thrift store? Do we recycle bottles and cans? You know, that people donate? What different areas? Do we have that money’s coming in from? And then where does that money go to? salaries, usually a huge one, which is why time is such an important thing to manage. But also, you know, are the things that we’re spending our money on making the most sense. And once you get further and further into budgeting, you really get to figure out can we sort things into different divisions into different departments, you know, we have to have an understanding of what is administrative, what’s fundraising, you know, this functional expenses, what kind of programs do we have, that are bringing money in, or, you know, we’re spending money on, because they’re really important to fulfill our mission. So with a budget, you know, usually I would set it for a month, month by month, for the year. And then the important part with this kind of like with goals, and adding the actions into your calendar, with a budget, we create this goal, this, you know, plan for what money is coming in and going out. And then we see what actually happens. And we keep a close eye on that, you know, budget versus actual, any board, that’s would probably be the top of my list, drill into areas that should be watched more closely. So if you’ve got enough detail, and enough staff, to have these tasks, then you’ve got people telling, you know, the next level of management, hey, there was this huge expense, I don’t know, this looks off. And then the finance committee can have a longer meeting about it or create some strategies around it. And then the board gets just the information that they need. But with any organization, you know, creating growth, creating strategy, you have to know the numbers, and you have to be watching the numbers. And I feel like this is an area where a lot of people, you know, don’t have, you know, the most comfort. But if you’re creating the job descriptions, and you know whose job it is to enter the data, whose job it is to look at the big picture whose job it is to take it to that next level, then it’s just about education, and figuring out how you ensure that things are accurate, things are consistent, and that you’re able to create strategy and make better and better decisions. So either way, hopefully, you guys are watching alphas premiere, I don’t know it’s one of my favorites. But either way, you’re making better decisions. And sometimes we do fail. You know, sometimes we aren’t hitting the mark. But very often, we are at least learning, you know, getting that next bit of information from it. So I had to throw this in there too time, when we’re thinking about budget, your time, the time that you’re spending on at the time that even your volunteers are spending on things. That has to be a calculation and a factor in the events that you have in the services that you’re offering. So Make sure that when you’re looking at that event budget, or program budgets, that you have something in here for time. And you know that it’s a realistic expectation of you know what that should take. So that’s basically what I have. For you guys today. This is, you know, a really fun topic. And I, I love planning, I love creating systems, and I love learning new things and helping people to get there. So Sammy, I will make sure that you get the spreadsheets and links to things. Any questions?

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 25:41
Yeah, this was awesome. Thank you so much, Megan, you teach me so much all the time. So thanks for sharing this with all of our folks. So all of these things will be linked up in your dashboard, which should be right around this video somewhere above. But I do have one question. So often times, there’s a disconnect between the goals that a board has versus what the staff feels like they can actually execute. So kind of what thoughts because I know you’ve seen both sides of that, what kind of thoughts do you have there? When you’re talking about like, really going for those big goals and integrating that communication about? Well, it’s okay, like, we know, these are big goals. It’s okay, if we fail on some of these things, but like, this is where we’re headed?

Megan Finn 26:27
That’s a really good question. There’s a lot to unpack there. And I am the treasurer on a on a board. So I’m very familiar with both sides of the equations from the employees and their specific goals and how that ties into an EDS goals, which tie into the strategic goals that the board sets. And I do think that’s a very important process, and that it really starts with the board doing some of that strategic planning. So having a 20 year plan having a 10 year plan, you know, where is the organization going? And what’s going to be happening? What are some of these real big picture ideals? That is so helpful when you get down to creating action in a daily person’s, you know, part of their workday that’s working there. So having the strategic goals, that’s obviously something we reference, and then looking within a smaller timeframe. So within a year, is there some part of that strategic plan that we can, you know, that we have a portion of, so if we know what our you know, accountabilities are and how they’re playing into be a part of that teamwork? What goal do we have that’s going to impact and, you know, make that overall change at the end of the day?

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 27:47
Yeah, I love that. And I think having the whole team be a part of it helps build that buy in, right to make sure we’re all we know what we’re working towards. So even if we’re doing something we don’t love, like, it’s not our favorite task of our job, but we can see how it rolls up. Um, so then, my other question is, like, you know, even if you have like, volunteers that are doing some heavy lifting, maybe you have a working board. Sometimes when you bring up the topic of time tracking, people feel like maybe you’re babysitting them or like you don’t trust that they’re doing their job. So how might you maybe approach that as like, just part of the strategic plan, so everybody knows the purpose?

Megan Finn 28:25
Yes, super important, actually have a great slide I wish it would have in there. But it actually kind of goes through those basics of from, you know, the strategic plan all the way up to, you know, your job description, and your annual evaluation. Words that people you know, don’t love. But I personally, once I got used to a job description, I would never be able, I would never work for anyone, if they didn’t tell me exactly what they were expecting of me, you know, so I feel like it’s, it’s not so much to do the micromanaging. And I’m a little bit off topic, but not so much that micromanaging but to but to know, if I have these things that are on my accountability list, and I have a meeting with my manager or with, you know, someone who’s there to help me and to remove barriers for me, then the conversation might go in a direction of i All these things are important, and I’m responsible for all of them. How helped me prioritize, where helped me figure out how to get support so that I can get these things done. So it’s really a conversation to help remove barriers. Same thing with time tracking, that’s where you figure out, you know, what are the things that are, you know, constantly, you know, egging you on, and, you know, kind of like just the fires that are burning that you have to put out. So, it’s never about micromanagement, and I think, you know, the important part with that is making sure everybody knows and that leadership is really showing that you know, part of their job and in their reason for being there is to help people get more done to help increase capacity add in to help remove barriers. So it’s it’s a very collaborative effort. And we have to go into it from that, you know, mindset from the beginning

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 30:10
was kind of like saying, if you have a solid job description, then it’s accountability on both sides. It’s countability me as the employee that I’m going to reach these things. And it’s accountability on you, as a leader, that this is the expectation, you’re not going to add things in without the respect of their time and efforts and all of those things. And I am one of those people that avoids my budget, I stressed out about the numbers. So could you maybe talk a little bit just about like, in your experience, how really feeling good about those numbers and paying attention, good and bad can really open up that creativity, as opposed to like hinder the opportunity for adjustments change and like growth in the organization?

Megan Finn 30:54
Yeah, let’s kind of get to going back to that Harvard Business Sunday, where, you know, just setting the plan in the first place, you know, puts you in that right mindset and gives you so much, you know, opportunity to actually be watching something. And numbers aren’t everybody’s favorite thing. I mean, they’re kind of my favorite thing. So I don’t really get that, but, but I think, you know, the thing is knowing that you know, where you’re at with it, what you’re comfortable with, and, you know, calling in support for the things that you need support in. And I find it very often, you know, there’s nonprofits of all different sizes. And they usually go from, you know, one person doing many, many things, including, you know, bookkeeping and budgeting, and, you know, reporting to the board on finance. And you just kind of have to understand that you’re, you know, you’re in the position you are until you’re ready to go to that next position. And oftentimes, that’s the stage where you, you, you know, you learn what you didn’t know, you didn’t know. So I think you making sure that you’re not overwhelmed when looking at something like that is, you know, take a step back. And, you know, do it as easy as you can.

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 32:04
Yeah, my last question for you is, because I think this is really important. And this is something you taught me a long time ago, that has just stuck in my brain. And you kind of mentioned at the end, like, make sure you’re tracking the time, even for volunteers that it takes to go into whatever activity it is, because I feel like, you know, as we went through COVID, and fundraising events, and like the activities that we did had to shift, I feel like a lot of times, now we’re kind of just flipping back to what’s comfortable, as opposed to maybe what we learned. And so I think really paying attention to your financials, in the regards to how much of our staff time or volunteer time could we allot somewhere else, like pulling that into our ROI is really important. And you mentioned it at the end. But I just think that that’s such a key component that I want, I wanted to just give a little extra attention to, yeah, for

Megan Finn 32:53
sure, time is a huge thing. And I feel like, you know, a lot of times we think our time, you know, I can’t hire somebody to do it, or you know, I don’t have a volunteer to do this, I’ll just do it. And you can’t, you’re taking away from something else that you could be doing, you’re taking away from your focus in it and intention, you know, when that happens, so to have it just in your mindset, even if you know, you’re not going to pay volunteers, or you’re never going to pay anybody to do that job. Understanding the time and energy that’s going into it is a valuable thing to have. It can help you with grant writing, it can help you you know, even with the marketing, you know, the report that you create every year with your 990 you know, how many people are so committed and to your vision into your organization? And how many hours are they spending and putting into it. So I think knowing for that reason alone, but also knowing for, you know, the situation in which, you know, maybe it would be better if you had them, the volunteers focus in another direction, maybe that could really impact your goals, you know, twice as much. So super important. And I think easy to forget, you know, to watch.

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 34:05
Yeah, because I do that too, in my business. Like I don’t track my time on tasks necessarily. Because I’m like, Well, I run the business, I gotta get it done. But at the end of the day, that doesn’t help me figure out my ROI on what I’m doing, and what actually makes the biggest impact and what actually brings in the most amount of revenue. So don’t discount yourself just because you’re a founder or an executive director who’s salaried and just needs to get the things done. Hello, any final words?

Megan Finn 34:32
I don’t know, I think you kind of brought it out of me just the whole idea. You know, we’re, we’re, I feel like we’re constantly learning and you’re, you’re in the right place that you’re supposed to be right now. And once you get that next piece of information, you’re gonna move on to, you know, the next thing as long as you’re, you know, trying so. So I think just that and I think we

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 34:51
hear things when we need to hear them. So if you’re watching this now and you’re not in a strategic planning mode, pause, well, I guess we’re at the end now, so it doesn’t really matter but come back to it it’s here for you when you’re ready all the resources that Megan has so generously offered are all linked up so thank you all so much for watching this session




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