I had an amazing choir director when I was at McGill University. He was crazy busy – he conducted an incredible number of chamber choirs and ensembles at the university. I asked him how he did it: how did he keep up his energy level every single day, never wavering in his enthusiasm?
His answer was simple. He refueled with the energy from his choirs. They made it possible for him to continue working tirelessly every day.
COMPASSION…. for yourself
Fundraisers are quick to be compassionate for others – our donors, our program recipients, our colleagues. But we not always compassionate with ourselves.
Compassion begins and ends with me. #fundraisingtruth
This is the fifth blog post in a series of 6 entitled the Fundraiser Mindset. You can read my post on Discipline, Strategic, Communication and Passion here.
So you want to be a successful fundraiser…great news! I mean really, who DOESN’T want to be a successful fundraiser, right?
But wanting to be successful, and putting into steps the actions and behaviours that will achieve your goals are two different things.
You want to be successful, BUT:
You get distracted from your goals by administrative work, or volunteer work (mea culpa on that one!!) or a whole litany of other excuses.
You’re quick to point out all of the problems that stop you from doing your job at your organization. It’s the structure that’s wrong. If that was fixed, THEN you could be successful.
You just don’t have enough time to do the things you need to do to meet your goals.
Zig Ziglar says
When obstacles arise, you change your DIRECTION to reach your goal, you do not change your DECISION to get there. (← Tweet this)
This is the fourth blog post in a series of 6 entitled the Fundraiser Mindset. You can read my posts on Discipline, Strategic and Communication here.
The dictionary’s definition of passion is “a strong and barely controllable emotion.”
Passion is what helps us overcome obstacles. Passion is the counterbalance to the (relatively) low salaries in not-for-profit. How many times have I heard “You’re in not-for-profit? Your work must be so rewarding.”
Well, yes, sometimes it’s rewarding…
This is the third blog post in a series of 6 entitled the Fundraiser Mindset. You can read my post on Discipline and Strategic here.
Last month I achieved an amazing milestone in my personal life. I won the National Women’s Tennis over 40 doubles Championship. Yes! Me! Here’s a pic of me and my partner to prove that this really happened!!! We were definitely the underdogs in this Canadian women’s finals—we knocked off the #1 and the #3 seed to win the title!
What did we do to win, you ask?
We kept the ball going back and forth over the net. We reacted to their ball, and responded appropriately.
Tennis is a fabulous analogy for great communication. Great communicators know that the ball has to go back and forth over the net in order to have a meaningful dialogue.
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.
[caption id="attachment_1928" align="alignleft" width="350"] Game of Thrones title card | Copyright HBO[/caption]
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
As a professional classical pianist living in New York City I learned a thing or two about discipline—getting up at 6 am to line up for practice rooms so that you can practice for 6 hours in a cubicle, perfecting your version of Schumann’s Piano Concerto is a true test of anyone’s discipline.
Hard work taught me that anything worth achieving in life is worth fighting for. Fundraising is a multi-tasking profession: despite our best efforts, we wind up chasing the new shiny object around the office, instead of applying discipline and structure to what we know will bring in revenue. Fundraising work plays the “long game.” There are no shortcuts, no easy money, and when projects are BIG, with long timelines, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and frustrated.
The key to successfully completing any important fundraising task is discipline.
When I’m in need of some inspiration to revitalize my work day, I turn to books. Over the summer, I do a lot of reading, mulling over projects and ideas for the year.
I also read a lot at the cottage. That’s me—to the right—on a girls’ weekend in Wakefield Quebec with some of my oldest and dearest friends. That weekend I brought along three books (I am also an ambitious reader!). Here’s what I am reading, and why!
1 The Art of Relevance by Nina Simon
Do you know what you're raising money for?
Seems like a simple question, but if you ask different people at your organization, you might not get the same answer. How can you raise money if you don't know which projects or programs you're raising money for?
Getting yourself a set of APPROVED funding priorities at your shop will help you - the busy not-for-profit professional - prioritize your work.
Watch this video to learn how to avoid "Puttin' on the tutu." Learn how you can raise more money by having clear commitment on what you're raising money for.
Ah, the life of a jet-setting Major gifts officer. Calgary one week, Cornwall the next! Working with donors from across the country has its perks, but it certainly also has its challenges.
I reached out to Julie Beckett, CFRE, who is Manager, Fundraising at Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada to ask her what her top 5 pieces of advice would be to Major Gifts Officers with national portfolios. She’s been at the Co-operative Foundation for over 5 years, and many of these tips have become second nature to her. For context, Julie manages approximately 1500 donors across Canada, and she’s travelling approximately once a month. And boy, does she pack in a lot of things on those visits!
1 Know the issues going on at the local level