March’s Message from the President



Remember the bubble chart? Back in January, GRAVA dedicated a workshop to professional development options for volunteer engagement professionals, and Katie Campbell facilitated an exercise she called, “Reach Beyond Your Bubble.” It was accompanied by some very thought-provoking questions like:

  • Where am I now?
  • What is familiar and comfortable?
  • What possibilities lie outside my bubble?
  • Where is the potential for change?
  • What am I curious or nervous about?
  • What do I wish I was better at?
  • How do I want others to see me?
  • Where do I want to end up?

I don’t know about you, but I have spent a lot of time thinking about these questions and their answers. What goal or goals should I be striving for in 2014? Unfortunately, goals don’t usually achieve themselves without some significant planning and implementation on our end, so our roundtable discussion in February focused on generating some action steps that we could take in order to reach our goals. So where are we with all of that?

According to research, most New Year’s resolutions have been broken or forgotten or sabotaged by the end of February. It was the start of a new year and at the time we had sincere intentions. But two months down the road, our schedules are beginning to heat up and we’re starting to get really insanely busy. We’re going to too many meetings and our inboxes are full to brimming. In the spring, volunteers start coming out of the woodwork looking for service opportunities and, of course we want to provide them! And with events like Affordable Housing Awareness Week and National Volunteer Recognition Week, who’s got time for books and worksheets and classes and “big picture” discussions?

What’s the saying? If we continue to do what we’ve always done, we’ll continue to get what we’ve always gotten. It’s that simple. Don’t end the year the way you started it. Don’t go back to business as usual and don’t fall back into doing things the way they’ve always been done. Tape your bubble chart to the wall beside your computer, where you’ll see it multiple times every day. Tack your 2014 mantra up on the other side and remind yourself that this is important. It’s important to always have a goal that you are striving toward. One goal, even a modest one, is enough for now. But don’t let it get lost in the frustration and stress and chaos of day-to-day program management. We can’t continue to be reactive and we can’t afford to let others determine our priorities.

If you missed the March workshop on behavioral interviewing, that’s really too bad because it was FANTASTIC! I have already started to revise my orientation, sensitivity training, position descriptions, and interviewing process as a result. I called a meeting among our community engagement staff so that we can discuss some “big picture” changes, and I’m on the agenda for the April board meeting. I signed up for a Nonprofit Learning Point class on March 17, and I’m reading a lot. And I’ve accepted offers to teach workshops in April, May, and July. These are all steps that will get me to my goals. What about you? What’s one step that you can take within the next 30 days to move you forward? Make a plan and then make it happen. And hopefully, whatever your plan looks like, it includes a commitment to getting the most out of your GRAVA membership! See you on April 3!


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