As a fundraiser, chances are you are pulled in many directions and juggling multiple responsibilities. More and more, in both our personal and professional lives, we are all trying to do more things in less time, because there is so much to do! It can be exhausting.
As you watch your development shop’s calendar fill up with annual fund appeals, events, grant deadlines, campaign kickoffs, etc., apply these tips to move your most important projects forward quickly and efficiently:
1. Involve donors in your PROCESS, not just your PRODUCT.
Don’t wait to engage donors. Your organization’s new program for supporting teen parents may not be perfectly strategized, planned or financed yet. But don’t let that stop you from sharing updates on program design with key donors you know have an interest in the topic.
Seek their advice, and ask what they think of the design so far. The same goes for campaigns. Too often we fundraisers erect artificial walls around our programs or campaigns that imply something has to be “Ready” or “Finished” before we share it with donors.
The truth is that for major donors who value engagement, the process of getting something “ready” will feel much more authentic, interesting and impactful than just being presented with the final product. And, your donors just might suggest an improvement to your program or a tweak for your campaign plan that you had not considered!
2. Pick GOOD over PERFECT.
If you are detail-oriented, as fundraisers tend to be, chances are your “good” work is good enough. It accomplishes its purpose without being perfect. I’m talking here about work products – presentation slides, donor letters, proposals, reports, brochure copy, the personal email from your CEO to one of your organization’s major donors.
The extra time you take making something perfect doesn’t add much value in the long run. It won’t change your result. Next time you find yourself pouring more time and energy into an annual appeal letter that is already strong and has been vetted by the appropriate team members, take a tip from Voltaire and give it one last check for typos…then send it out!
Time is your most valuable commodity. You will reap more in the long term by investing time in a new project – perhaps the “frog” you need to eat? - than in perfecting something that is already “good enough.”
What ideas do you have for shifting our mindsets? Please share your thoughts, tips and advice in the Comments box below!
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