Ah, December. Time is in short supply, and balancing year-end fundraising goals with holiday festivities and home expectations can tax the best of us. What’s a fundraiser to do?
Read on for 8 tips to survive, thrive and keep your sanity this year-end!
1. Remember Your Mission
Rekindle your passion for your organization. Remember why your mission is attractive to your donors as well as the good work accomplished with the dollars you raise. Find a story that speaks to you, and you’ll find yourself more energized for your work – and better equipped to connect with donors.
Acknowledge what motivates you professionally and personally. Is your background in sales? Engaging in a friendly competition with last year’s fundraising results or with a friend at another organization can inspire you to up your game AND increase support for your mission.
Does a deadline light a fire under you? Schedule your to-do list then relish in the accomplishment of crossing things off the list, whether that’s writing an appeal letter or sledding with your family.
Can a volunteer help with the year-end mailer? Can someone else pick up the ham for Thursday’s holiday dinner? Working in the nonprofit sector, you’re likely adept at juggling multiple demands and spearheading large projects on our own, but that doesn’t meant you have to do it all on your own.
Sometimes all it takes is asking. As a fundraiser, you’re accustomed to asking for support for your nonprofit’s work, so you may need a nudge to ask for help for yourself!
4. Practice Mindfulness
There’s a reason mindfulness is the new buzzword: the benefits to both health and personal success have been documented. It’s easy to feel stressed when you’re busy, but take one minute to close your eyes and count slow, deep breaths, and you’ll begin to calm.
Take pause from a frantic pace and reflect on the task at hand; it can actually make you more efficient by helping you improve your focus, make fewer mistakes and let go of stress. Even better, practicing mindfulness has been shown to improve listening and relationship skills, two valuable currencies for a fundraising professional.
Sometimes it is better to put off to tomorrow… or even to the New Year. Let go of the items that won’t make a critical difference in the success of your year-end fundraising, or the success of that cocktail party you’re hosting. There’s nothing wrong with closing the door to a messy room your guests won’t see, or going through your fundraising to-do list and marking “January” on the items that won’t affect your bottom line.
Reframe December’s busy schedule from a stress to an opportunity to connect with your donors, neighbors and family. There’s a reason behind the tradition of so many gatherings – and generous gifts: thinking of others. Making personal connections has helped your fundraising success, and it will help you remember the joy of the holiday season.
7. Be Thankful
Focus on the good in your life. A moment at the beginning or end of your day to be consciously thankful for a specific donor, a joyful family moment, or an item checked off your to-do list will help you feel more balanced, happy and ready for the next day. Plus, gratitude is a quality that can only help you as a fundraiser.
If being thankful does not come naturally to you, check out 10 Reasons to Be Thankful & Why You Need a Gratitude List to get you started.
8. Reward Yourself
When you meet your goals, take a moment to celebrate your achievements. Make time within your personal demands to recharge and do something you enjoy. You’ll find more energy for both your personal and professional obligations.
I hope you try some (or all!) of these tips to thrive. Before you know it, December will be behind you, and you’ll have only memories to tide you over until next year. Happy Holidays to you!
What are some ways you re-energize and take care of yourself during the holiday season? Please share your ideas in the Comments box below.
Special gift for you: Conquer Your Fear of Asking for Money, a step-by-step guide, is available here (click).