Taking Stock: Questions for Nonprofit Leaders


As the year comes to a close, we naturally turn to reflection. It is a time to ask ourselves what we have achieved, what we have learned, and what we have yet to accomplish in both our personal and professional lives. For nonprofit leaders, taking stock of the past year can yield powerful (and sometimes surprising) insights not only about one’s own development but also about the organization’s future. But with the harried pace of the season, how can a busy leader fit in this kind of reflection, among so many other demands? To help, our staff created this list of questions to help guide nonprofit leaders in taking stock.

  1. What was my greatest achievement this year? What strengths did I bring to (or discover in) this situation, and how might I use those strengths in the future?
  2. What was the biggest challenge I faced this year? How did I navigate through it? Would I have done anything differently, knowing what I do now?
  3. How is my relationship with the board? With the staff? Did I expect and encourage everyone in the organization to develop professionally and take ownership of their work?
  4. What evidence exists that the organization truly made an impact this year? Did we succeed in moving the needle, or did we just tread water?
  5. Where can we take this organization in 2014? Am I the best person to lead the way? If not, what’s next for me?

This is just a starting point for considering one’s individual growth as a leader, the organization’s accomplishments, and what lies ahead. These questions may well prompt deeper reflection or other important lines of inquiry. The discoveries and insights that result can be a powerful guide for 2014.

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