Another type of CEO

I am still hyped from working on my article on how “I want to be the CEO”. The title comes out strong but I know that is the focus I need to make things happen. There has definitely been a huge focus in adopting the migoals methodology to goal setting this year.

“Goals are ways to make dreams come true”

Funny enough, being the CEO of UPG does not have to be a dream, as I already am the CEO, at least on paper. What has been missing has been the shift from a founder, doer, accountant to CFO and CEO in real terms. I do a lot of small bits, we are a small team and I tend to lean to financials and numbers as a natural area of strength. For the first time in a while, I feel I may actually be able to do this. I now have a plan, a bunch of to-dos and some deadlines to keep me in check. And I have started already this week.

As I finished writing my goal for UPG, I knew it was time to work on ALG. Yes, the Portuguese and UK arm are separate and in a certain form run independently. We suffer from different problems in each of these organisations. In ALG, I have the power to be local and close to our donors, but I have no team. We are a virtual team of 4 trustees, 8 Ambassadors and more recently 2 Board Members, as well as a remote team of volunteers across multiple locations. We are all extremely well connected through our professional lives and we often recur to those when large events happen such as our Gala. However, as much as the gala is generally a success and everyone always asks when the next one is, we have no capacity to do it every year. In fact, we claim to do it every 5 years, but whenever we finish doing one we can barely bear the thought of starting another one any time soon.

We do not lack connections so one would think fundraising is a problem. In a way, it is not, as long as we actually fundraise. I spend a very limited amount of my time fundraising in a targeted manner, mostly because my work is done in the evenings, but also because I don’t love doing it. My sister is right to say that probably no one loves it and that she is no different and does not enjoy turning every social event into a fundraising opportunity. Even though I still have trouble believing her, given her natural ability to do it, I give her the benefit of the doubt and admit I have to do it more. And more that does not involve only small events organization but more 1on1 conversations or asks.

So I have committed that the time I will devote to ALG will be about raising awareness for ALG and seek to create stickiness and sustainability in an enlarged donor base.

Why? (The framework starts…)

I want to be a CEO focused on ALG’s brand and cast my net through a wider but targeted network of high net worth individuals. All of these individuals are already part of my network, and many may already give to ALG on an occasional basis, but I am not systematic about reaching out and, many times, I just don’t ask. I will stop feeling shame when I ask and I will let my passion drive me because I know that when I ask, I very often get.


I want to do this from Q2 on a consistent basis, after piloting a few approaches in 2018. I need time to get 2018 accounts in order and delegated so I can focus on mining and cleaning the database and really driving results.

And now what to do, the piece that makes it all happen,

  • Do ALG Accounts: as unrelated as it may seem to fundraising, this is item #1 on my list because it allows me to have peace of mind that these are done but also it has the crucial benefit to let me move from processing data to reading data and turning it into information. I always have issues with data quality, so I have kept the record keeping close to my heart to ensure analytics are good, but the outcome was that I rarely ended up having any time for analytics
    • KPI1: Complete all transaction bookings for ALG by end of Q1
    • KPI2: Teach Joana how to do all the bookings for 2019
    • KPI3: Have KPI bookings with no more than 3 months lag in ALG
  • Engaged our Board members: For a long time, ALG only had 1 board member and, due to work commitments, he has had very little time to dedicate to ALG in recent years. I have now engaged a new board member and hope to make them a team that helps expand the network and drive real change. I am a bit lost about which KPI to have for this one but I will force myself and give it a go
    • KPI1: Close 3 warm leads from our Board Members
  • Re-strengthen the Ambassadors: a few years back, we launched the Ambassador concept – a group of ALG supporters that help us drive our mission forward by participating and enhancing our events, bringing new ideas and doing fundraising with their personal networks. The level of engagement varies a lot, starting with me. Again, it needs to be systematic and about empowering them to be part of us
    • KPI1: Engage with Ambassadors at least 1x month
    • KPI2: Promote Ambassador only events to increase engagement with each other and the charity
    • KPI3: Drive growth in the fundraising of all the Ambassador network
  • Directly engage HNWI for large or regular donations: this is the network point. I do an annual outreach to most of my colleagues once a year for my birthday, but we all know the average donation for these peer2peer fundraising events is good but not maximising each person’s individual potential. My request is going into the bucket of donation to friends doing marathons or climbing the Everest so there is a typical average. I need to select out a group to go directly and make a bigger ask, an ask not on my behalf, but on behalf of the charity
    • KPI1: Engage 25 high net worth individuals for 2019
    • KPI2: Achieve 100% renewals in 2018 large donor base
    • KPI3: Achieve 25 regular donor £100/month
  • Get Social Media Plan done and supervise/support early stage implementation: this one may seem contradictory to the goals. My fellow trustee Patricia actually disagrees this is that crucial for me to spend time on. But I am a big believer in an online brand and presence and I know how poor of a job we have done at ALG. We don’t have anyone dedicated to it but we have lots of great content and materials. Even though I don’t plan to manage implementation, I do plan to kick off a plan and make a decision on areas of investment. An improved online presence is bound to improve all of the above.
    • KPI1: Contract a social media review and plan across all channels
    • KP2: Decide and launch on 3 on main channels of focus
    • KP3: Establish implementation solution

The more I go through this, the more I like it.

I recognise the extreme level of detail but that is the point that it is absolutely required, for me or for anyone debating how to frame goals. Funny enough, we are going to go through a mandatory goal setting exercise in my department and I am now much better equipped to do it than 1 month ago before I started this series.

Why am I doing this? Three reasons stand out:

  1. I never realized how hard it could be to define goals, so finding a process that works is important. I share it because this may work for you and finally help you get those goals out there in a way you can materialize. And also because writing through them has greatly improved the first draft I had on paper (aka on my bullet journal)
  2. I never realized how important it was to attach a reason to your goals (makes you think twice before you go any further in the exercise) and, more importantly, to write down exactly what you think you need to do to get there. Even if you don’t get the exact steps all right, you will be taking action and most likely moving in the right direction to a process of accumulated trial and error. I knew all about defining critical success factors but this was the first time I applied it to myself;
  3. I never realized how as a CEO it is important to choose to be the CEO in a way that suits your charity or business best. Sometimes we focus on “things we have always done or areas of natural strength, or even areas of comfort. The job of a CEO is to put herself out there and ensure it is doing what the business and the team needs.

So if you are running a small business but you have not put your thoughts into goals, as all you can find time for is win new business or keep the lights on, then find the time to sit down and do this exercise. We don’t lack time, we lack prioritizing time according to our values and our goals.

Time is what makes us different, so we have to live it intentionally geared to what we want to achieve.

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