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This is the second blog post in a series of 6 entitled the Fundraiser Mindset. You can read my post on Discipline here.


Strategic is one of those words that gets bounced around at staff meetings and retreats. It comes loaded with different meaning (and baggage!) depending on who is using it.

Game of Thrones title card | Copyright HBO

Game of Thrones title card | Copyright HBO

There’s this great scene in Game of Thrones that defines strategic for me. The bad guys have ladders, and they’re climbing up and over the fortress wall. The good guys have a choice to a) shoot the guy coming over the wall or b) shoot the ladder so that no more bad guys climb over the wall. Option a is the tactical move—shoot the guy that is threatening your safety. Option b is the strategic move—position yourself differently so that you can save time, be more efficient and work smarter to kill future bad guys.

Smart fundraisers work strategically. We don’t have the time or resources available to us to shoot bad guys individually.   ← Tweet this 

What is strategy?

Synonyms for the word strategic include calculated, judicious, and prudent. Being strategic means saying no to a tactical activity so that you can say yes to a strategic activity that has more impact. Being strategic means you think about your activity or task as it relates to a bigger picture, a bigger plan.


What does being strategic look like?

  • Allocate time to wear your “thinking hat” rather than your “worker bee” hat. Strategic thinkers take a step back before throwing themselves into an activity. They ask themselves “If I do X, what is going to be the impact? Is there a better way to do this, or is there a different system I can use to get to where I need to go? Who do I know that can help me?”
  • Understand how your daily tasks fit into your bigger picture, your bigger plan and vision for the organization. Trust me, I know how good it feels to cross things off your to-do list, but understanding how that task is helping you fuel your goals and objectives on a bigger scale makes it so much more meaningful.
  • Think strategically about meetings. Have an agenda, and have some strategic goals: what do you need to accomplish in this meeting in order to move your files forward? What is the bare minimum that you’d like to see, and if the meeting goes swimmingly well, what would be the best case scenario outcome for the meeting? If you have a sense of what objections will be raised, what can you do in advance to address those concerns?

Thinking strategically saves time and energy, two of your most valuable commodities as a fundraiser.   ← Tweet this

Your Turn – ready, set, go!

Focus your week so you can connect the dots between your fundraising plan goals, and your weekly activities.When was the last time you looked at your Fundraising Plan? Do you know how you’re tracking against it so far this year? What powerful move can you make today that will shift your success in your fundraising files? Read my post on discipline to help you focus your week so you can connect the dots between your fundraising plan goals, and your weekly activities.


Your network is your greatest asset as a fundraiser. Who can you reach out to this week who can help you with your power moves? What introductions can you make to strategically move you towards your fundraising goals. Your network is only a phone call away—pick up the phone!

Liked this post? Check out the other posts in this series—discipline. Don’t miss out on any of this six post series about Fundraising Mindset—scroll down this page to sign up for my e-newsletter to get posts delivered to your inbox.