strategy & planning

By: Jessica Wassenaar

Have you thought about what you are going to do differently in 2018? Any missteps this year you want to avoid? What notes do you want to leave to your future personal or professional self?

As we wrap up the year, we asked local nonprofit professionals what they plan to do differently in 2018.  We hope their answers inspire, make you smile and give you some ideas for the new year. Enjoy!


Amber M. Kani – Director of Advancement & Education, PeopleFund

“In 2018, I want to make more data-driven decisions. 2017 was all about building process, collecting data, and evaluating impact. This is the year when we’ll be able to take what we’ve gathered and implement new programing based on information, not just ideas.”

Irit Umani – Executive Director, Trinity Center

“2018 is about assessing current practices in relation to mission and values. i.e. in my language: Is ‘compassion in action’ real or imaginary at Trinity Center? Creating giving relations with corporations. Do working relations among staff reflect my leadership values?”

Melissa Stewart – Consultant, Melissa Stewart Consulting

“I am going to work to identify collaborative opportunities with my fellow consultants.  I love the camaraderie of working on projects with others in the same field that both challenge and inspire me and I hope to do more of it in 2018!”

Julie Shannan – Deputy Director, Girlstart

Not start the day off checking email– but instead going through my to do list.”

Ted Siff – Board Chair, Shoal Creek Conservancy

“In 2018 I will try to have more fun by spending more time with family and friends while staying meaningfully involved in the causes to which I’m committed.”

Carolyn Schwarz – Executive Director, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Texas

“In 2018 our team is going to focus on increasing our communication across teams/departments. Collaboration is one of the elements that sets us apart and allows us to give 110% every day to make sure our guest families have high quality and comfortable experiences in our programs. With collaboration comes increased communication. That’s our goal for 2018.”

Michele Scherz – Chief Development Officer, Any Baby Can

“I’m going to start my workday with gratitude by extending three thank you messages – calls, emails or notes- to colleagues, donors, or volunteers. Hopefully, this will not only start off my day on a mission-driven note, but also bring positive energy to those who help make our mission possible, A reminder that relationships are at the core of our success.”

Charli Krause – Program Director, Generation Serve

“In 2018 I’m going to be more proactive on all fronts, in my personal life and professional life. It’s time!”

Meg Erskine – Co-founder and CEO, Multicultural Refugee Coalition

“Here’s what’s on my mind.  We have just completed a 1-3 year strategic plan- the first ever for our organization so we are looking forward to diving in and focusing our on our goal of providing livelihood opportunities for refugees.  We are starting 2 new apprentice programs this year with 2 of our social enterprises.”

Monica Maher – Director of Finance and Operations, The KIND Clinic

“My hope for 2018 is that everyone experiences an act of KINDness that inspires them to spread even more acts of KINDness! The days I’m fortunate enough to do at least one small thing that has a positive impact on someone else’s life are the most rewarding, and my absolute favorite days.”

Brent Lyles – Executive Director, Colorado River Alliance

“My biggest challenge in 2018 is all about communication: How do I get Texans to understand how much the long-term vitality of the Texas Colorado River will profoundly affect their lives?”

Rebecca Campbell – CEO, Austin Film Society

“In 2018 I’m going to spread the leadership opportunities around instead of taking on so much myself, recognizing that it gives others the opportunity to achieve and grow, and that it takes a community to make a difference around the really big challenges.”

Nadia Zakariya – Marketing Coordinator, Texas Performing Arts

“In 2018, I want to embrace making time to learn new things every day—whether it is reading articles and blogs, listening to a podcast, or picking up a book!”

Meg Haenn – Deputy Director, SCRC, National Wildlife Federation

“Wow what a shocking year 2017 has been for our country and for the world of conservation.  May 2018 bring an environmental consciousness to our lawmakers, that will protect our wildlife and our public lands now, and for future generations.”

Thanks to everyone who responded and I hope that reading these has sparked some ideas for you. It has definitely compelled us at Nonprofit Elements to really think about what we’ll do differently in 2018. There are certainly areas for us to polish and we’ve already begun the process of reflecting on our first year of operation. One thing that’s top of mind for us is that we want to incorporate more educational elements to our work so that our clients learn, grow, and push themselves to improve through the course of our work together. Well, that and more walking meetings!

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