There are more than a few ways the nonprofit sector could benefit from the advice and habits of our peers in the “for-profit” ecosystem. And, to be fair, the reverse is equally true. In my role as managing editor for Good Cause Creative, I am constantly striving for the sweet spot between doing good business while doing good in the world.
That balance is central to our mission here at WISH Cleveland, too. But like many of my favorite community changemakers, we don’t always take the time to look back and celebrate what we’ve accomplished. One of the first homework assignments my business coach, Stacie Riffert, handed out last January was to write a list of “100 wins” that I had experienced personally and professionally since launching my business. She warned me that it wouldn’t be easy, but she promised it would be worth it.
Fast forward to January 2020, and the simple habit of adding a few items to the “Holy Sh*t We are Amazing” list has become the best part of our GCC weekly staff meetings. In fact, I can’t think of a single habit or strategy that has had a more positive impact on my work since the first time I said “Good Cause Creative” out loud nearly five years ago.
So, as we approach the start of a new decade, I encourage you to make a “win list” of your own — especially if you work in the nonprofit world. You need it more than anyone, though you’ll probably put it off until June because you think everything else on your “To Do” list is more important. Yeah, I know. I’ve been there. But it’s not a healthy or sustainable place to be. Please learn from my mistakes and start now. I promise. It’s worth it.
Need a little inspiration? Here are five highlights from our WISH Cleveland 2019 list to get you started . . .
- In 2019, WISH Cleveland had a 670% increase in site visits since our 2016 launch, and our editorial team published 87 stories from 20 contributing writers — more than in any prior year.
- Our top viewed story of the year was Dude’la: Black Fathers Share Struggles, Successes in Supportive Group by Zoe Brown — which means that local efforts to combat the infant mortality crisis got some extra attention through our work. I can’t think of anything more representative of what we want WISH Cleveland to be known for.
- The most frequently shared WISH story on social media, “Two Donors, Three Heroes” by Amy Brown, brought a very personal perspective to the life saving gifts of organ donation and organ donor registration.
- During #GivingTuesdayCLE, we worked with Anthony Thomas Advertising to produce an amazing video, and we built a totally custom website enabling 65+ nonprofits to collectively raise over $21,000. This was all made possible through a partnership with Greater Cleveland Community Shares, Cleveland’s only workplace giving program for social justice organizations. Win. Win. Win.
- WISH Cleveland supported three $2,000 grant cycles as founding trustees of the Awesome Foundation Cleveland Chapter, a no-strings-attached effort to put cash straight into the pockets of dreamers and doers in Northeast Ohio.
Just going back over my weekly lists and site analytics to share these five “wins” has already shifted my perspective and boosted my energy for the year ahead. If you do nothing else, just take a few minutes this week and make your own top five list from the past year. They don’t have to be rock solid stats. Anything goes. Sixteen days headache free? Total win. You let your sister cook Thanksgiving dinner? Sounds like a win to me.
One of my favorite list-worthy moments this year was when our Director of Operations highlighted her favorite items on our “win list” before sitting me down for a financial heart-to-heart conversation. It immediately placed us in a positive mindset and led to an honest discussion about our financial goals and what it will take to accomplish them.
The “win list” is an invaluable tool that smart business owners have been using forever. It’s time for the nonprofit world to take our success just as seriously — not to impress potential supporters and funders — but to genuinely recognize and celebrate all of the tiny victories and big wins that inevitably happen while you’re working hard to create a more just and equitable world.