Nonprofit Squad Goals is a regular series of challenges to help you tackle your professional development goals in small, bite-sized pieces throughout the year. We’ll offer advice and give you a platform to network with other young nonprofit professionals who have committed to making 2016 the best year yet for their careers. You can join the challenge and share your journey by using the hashtag #npsquadgoals.
In our 2015 Young Nonprofit Professional survey, 92% of you told us that managing relationships is crucial to your professional development. Relationship management is a broad term, but we define it as paying strategic attention to developing and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with your key stakeholders who can most positively (or negatively) influence your ability to professionally succeed. We dare you to take action by joining our third challenge of the year: Boost your Relationship Management Game!
By the end of June, challenge yourself to:
- Design your relationship management strategy by completing our simple template.
- Do one thing to nurture an important relationship.
- Ask for one thing from a key contact.
- Share your victories with us by using the #npsquadgoals hashtag!
Need help getting started on your challenge? Here are some resources:
Design your relationship management strategy by completing our simple template (an excel file).
Forming and maintaining relationships with the right people is crucial to developing our careers and reaching our professional goals. However, relationship management can feel really overwhelming without a plan in place.
Start building your strategy by defining your goal. For example, maybe your goal is to get a promotion or transfer to a different department at your current organization. Or perhaps you need to navigate a tricky situation and tough relationships in your current role. Or maybe your goal right now is simply to deepen your understanding of your strengths.
Next, with your goal in mind, identify your key stakeholders. These are the people who have influence, power and/or an interest in you reaching those goals. They might include your co-workers, supervisor, industry contacts or a person in an organization or role you’d like to pursue in the future. Take a look back at who you connected or reconnected with during our first challenge to help brainstorm.
Lastly, schedule time in your calendar to maintain these relationships. What gets measured, gets done!
Do one thing to nurture an important relationship.
There are so many simple ways to strengthen relationships by giving. Relationships are stronger when both parties can benefit from each other's strengths and assets. By strengthening your relationships with your key stakeholders, they will be more likely and willing to support you in the pursuit of your goal. Choose to do something that makes sense for you, but some ideas include:
- Introduce two of your key contacts to each other
- Send a handwritten card or thank you note
- Attend an event their organization puts on or donate to their organization and email them to let them know
Ask for one thing from a key contact.
You’ve already found ways to be helpful to your contacts through the second challenge. Your stakeholders are bound to remember your thoughtful gestures and happy to reciprocate. By helping each other out, you are both benefiting from and strengthening your relationship. Consider your professional goals that you defined earlier. What can most help you reach those goals? Now’s the time to reach out to a key contact and make your ask. For example, you could:
- Ask for their help identifying your next career step
- Ask to be introduced to someone
- Ask for a LinkedIn recommendation
- Ask them for an honest assessment of your skills and growth areas. If you’re looking for a template to guide this conversation, consider using the self-assessment from challenge #2!
Take the #npsquadgoals challenge!
Comment on this blog post or share a photo on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram using the #npsquadgoals hashtag:
- Send us a victory selfie with your completed relationship management strategy template.
- Comment on our blog post telling us how you chose to nurture a relationship.
- Share an update on your favorite social media platform after making your ask.
We’ve loved seeing you tackle the #npsquadgoals challenges so far and can’t wait to cheer you on for this one! If you haven't taken them already, there's still time: