056: How to Find Your S.U.R.E. Word for the Year

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Hi Changemakers,

As we enter the last week of the year (or even if you are listening to this podcast at any time throughout the year), I am going to give you a way to enhance your focus for your nonprofit or grant writing company. It is a S.U.R.E. way to find the best word for your year. This word should guide you and keep you focused so you don’t get busy chasing the shiny pennies, trapped in projects that don’t meet your mission or say yes (or no!) to partners that aren’t aligned with your vision.

Before we get there, though, a quick reminder that we are starting our BETA Changemaker Membership soon and our Advanced Reader Team (ART)! The Membership includes:

  • Real awarded grant applications
  • An archive of training videos on grant writing, research and, funding WOWS!
  • Checklists for grants and funding
  • Discounts on our services
  • A community of other nonprofit organizations and grant writers
  • Q & A sessions with yours truly

So much value for only $27 per month, when you sign-up for the BETA group. The price will go up substantially in 2019, so please e-mail me at hollywego@gmail.com to get on the waiting list, if you are interested in getting in at this price (if you haven't already)!

The other cool news is the Amazon Bestselling Book Wish Granted! Is getting a re-release with a new title, cover, and a little dressing up of content. If you would like to be on the Advanced Reader Team (ART) and get a free e-copy of the book, please send me an e-mail with the headline, ‘Add me to the ART’ at



S.U.R.E. Word

Selecting a S.U.R.E. Word for your nonprofit or grant writing company is not necessarily a new idea, but there are many who do not do this. I’ve been doing this for my business and personal life over the last few years and have found it to be a way that has led to tremendous success!

Something more common is having New Year's resolutions. According to the U.S. News & World Report, “80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by February”. I’ve experienced failing at New Year’s resolutions myself, but have seen much more success by setting strategic goals and objectives rather than resolutions. Those are still a little bit different than a S.U.R.E Word for the year.   Having a strategic goal and objective is what you are going to achieve and how you are going to achieve it, but the S.U.R.E. Word is a constant guide. We will discuss goals and strategic objectives another time, but today we will focus on the S.U.R.E. Word.

A S.U.R.E Word is something you can have that guides you each and every day. It is also a question that helps guide your decisions.


The first S.U.R.E. Word, actually phrase, I used was, “implementing intentions through systems.” I know, it’s a little wordy, but it helped guide me throughout my year. My intentions were to publish a couple of books and set up systems to sell said books. I published four books within a two-year span and have them set up to sell automatically on Amazon. Every day I would write down my Word Theme and ask myself “How can I implement my intentions through systems?” This was very powerful.

Last year, I simply had one S.U.R.E. Word, “Alignment.” I would ask myself for each task that I approached, “Does this align with my life?” Having this word really did help me align different components of my life, eliminate items that did not bring alignment, and helped me define an enhanced direction for grant writing.

 So you can clearly see how a S.U.R.E. Word can also help for your personal life. One of my friends said she kept living the same year over and over again and it didn’t change until she got created a S.U.R.E. Word to help guide her out of that cycle. 

That may be how you feel, either about your nonprofit or your grant writing company.

  • Have you been living the same year over and over again?
  • Do you hold the same old fundraiser?
  • Do you still have the exact same partners?
  • Is your revenue exactly the same as last year and the year before?

The S.U.R.E. Word should be the guide, a statement, and a question for everything you do. It will help you live a year that is more focused and has greater outcomes that meet your mission.

So how do you feel about the 'S.U.R.E’ Word? Well, you want to take some time to reflect. If you are doing this for nonprofit, you can do this activity at your annual meeting or retreat. If you are a ‘solopreneur', you can do this in your planning for the upcoming year.

The first thing you can do is list your values (or create values if you don’t have any established).

  • What do your values say?
  • Is there anything that pops out?

Now list your mission statement and vision statement.

  • Are there any words that really resonate, or you feel like make sense, but you just aren’t doing?

Another thing you can do is complete a S.W.O.T. analysis and see if any words listed really speak to you (refer to episode 011 for more information on a S.W.O.T.)

Now you can further brainstorm on some words. Some examples to get youstarted, include:

Empower, Implement, Celebrate, Fun (that’s my seven-year-old daughter’s word for 2019!) Wealth, Advance, and Grow.

For a full list and activity worksheet, please sign up for the BETA ChangeMaker Membership Wait List, which will include a short video and worksheet for your S.U.R.E. Word.

The next thing is to select up to three words. If you are doing this as a group, have everyone select their top three and see which words are ranked the highest.

Now, let’s move into the S.U.R.E. part. By now, you know that S.U.R.E. is an acronym.

(S) Specific


  • Is the Word specific enough?
  • Does it provide a laser-focus for your nonprofit or business?

If you have to really think about how it can help your nonprofit or business, then it is too vague. It may be a great ‘word,’ but if it’s not specific enough in pushing your nonprofit forward and is just a fluff word - cut it out. Make sure it is specific enough to guide you each and every day.


(U) Unique


· Does the word uniquely define your nonprofit or grant writing company?

  • Does it connect to your mission and vision statement or is it one of your values that you want to increase?

If you feel like it really resonates as a symbol of your nonprofit, then it is a unique word.

(R) Risky


  • Does the Word Theme make your heart pitter-patter a bit faster?

You want this word to make you feel a little nervous and it to be a little bit of a stretch, but at the same time to completely resonate within you and your organization.


(E) Exciting


  • Do you get excited when you say the word?

You want to have some excitement from the word and it to be something that brings out passion for the nonprofit! The word should align with your mission and vision and values. If you selected a word from your mission, vision statement or values, then the answer is probably yes!


Make sure you share your word! Go ahead and hashtag #GWFsureword or click here on our Instagram or Facebook to see the S.U.R.E. Word Post!

If you want the entire activity packet, be sure to sign-up to get on the ChangeMaker Membership by e-mailing hollywego@gmail.com.

See you all in 2019! Happy New Year!



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