Do you ever feel like you have way to many ideas? Or do you feel like you have a lot of great ideas and things you want to do but never end up with time to get them done? How do you manage your good ideas? Do you ever find yourself partway through a new book on fundraising and are overcome with the number of programs or techniques you want to change?
Every couple weeks there is something new that I want to try and almost every day there is a story or publication that I want to tweak to be more donor-centric. I’ve found that if you don’t make new ideas a priority they will never happen; there are too many daily things in the life of a fundraising professional. New ideas are also many times very scary for those around you to implement and support.
There are many techniques and things you can do to support new ideas in your office. Set aside time every day to plan and think about the future. Mark 15 minutes a day off your calendar or an hour a week with the intention of doing nothing but thinking and planning out the next step. Many of you probably already do this as part of your normal schedule. Make a list of every new idea you have good or bad. If you start creating a list soon you will start to see patterns and many times it leads to implementing these ideas in some way. After a few months of working with this list sometimes I will send a revised version to my boss or a colleague and say here is a list of ideas do any of these resonate with you?
New ideas are important especially in difficult financial times and as we prepare to fundraising with the next generation. We need to be nimble and cutting edge as an industry or we will cease to be successful. Foster a spirit of entrepreneurship in your office, encourage your staff to think outside of the box, and don’t be afraid to try something new.
Have you tried something new in the last couple months? Leave a comment and share it with us.
Are you experiencing “Development Fatigue”? Many donors go through “Donor Fatigue” when they have been asked too often for a donation but that’s not what I’m talking about. Do you ever feel like you have been asking too much and just don’t have any more “development” left in you?
I think this happens to the very best of us. We have to wear a lot of hats in the development world from motivator to advocate, solicitor to coach, and many more. Often times we have more to do than we can get done in any given day. I know sometimes I am overwhelmed just at the number of things I have to do even before I have started them. When it gets to this point it is important that this kind of workload and stress does not get conveyed to the donor. The donor should always feel like you have time for them. It is also important that we learn to respond to this for our own personal and professional health.
Here are a few things that I do to stay compassionate, keep a steady mind, and keep from burn out.
- Make sure that as often as you can you take lunches for yourself. Make time in your calendar a couple times a week to eat with your co-workers, friends, or on your own. It is important to take some time away from your desk every day. This also helps you connect with other staff in the organization outside of asking them to help you in your fundraising.
- Keep perspective on what you are doing. Remember that you are part of a team, none of us can do this alone. Don’t forget what cause or issue you are working for. If you do not feel connected to what you are raising money to do then call a client or alumni and ask to hear their story.
- Do your best to keep work at work. Try not to think about what you are doing tomorrow after you have left work. Try not to bring things home or make calls from home. Sometimes you can’t do this but if you can this helps keep you centered.
I have been doing these things for a number of years and have found that they make a huge difference. There are always times when you will be too busy but I have found that when I’m able to make time for these things it actually makes me more productive. Leave your little trick of the trade or story as a comment below.