Have you ever noticed we tend to work better on deadline?
No matter how long we have for a project, most of us wait until the last minute (or close to it) to start. We seem to work better under the pressure of a deadline.
Unfortunately, if you’re at a busy organization with lots of impending deadlines, this makes raising major gifts especially hard. Unlike grant writing and event planning, there are very few hard deadlines associated with raising major gifts. You can always put off making calls to donors or scheduling meetings because it seems like there’s always something more important to do.
Well, no more! If you really want to raise major gifts, you need to check your procrastination at the door.
Get Back to Raising Major Gifts: 4 Productivity Tips
Here are four anti-procrastination techniques to refocus your time and talents on raising major gifts.
1. Set goals.
How many calls will you make per day or per week? How many donors will you meet with each month? How many thank you notes will you personalize and sign?
When setting goals, be realistic, yet optimistic. If you say you’re going to make 10 calls a day, does that seem realistic or overwhelming? If you’re just getting started, 3 to 5 calls per day might be more likely to happen.
2. Create penalties and identify rewards.
What are the penalties for not meeting your goals? What are the rewards? It’s more likely that you’ll meet your goals if there are some real rewards and penalties associated with them.
If you call 3 donors every day for a month, can you get an extra day off? How about if you secure 4 meetings with donors every month, at the end of the month, lunch for everyone is paid for by the organization or everyone gets Friday afternoon off?
I like carrots as rewards better than sticks as penalties, but sometime sticks might be what it takes. If you don’t make your calls, do you need to have a discussion with the executive director as to what went wrong? If you don’t meet your goals for three months, are you the right person for the job? Sometimes you need to be honest with yourself.
3. Be accountable.
Find an accountability partner — either in your office, such as someone who works with you, or outside, like a board member you can call on the phone.
Schedule a time to chat every week — Monday morning works well. Ask the following questions every week:
- What did you do to raise major gifts last week and how did it go? What follow up needs to be done?
- What will you do this week to raise major gifts?
Make sure you do at least one thing to move ahead with raising major gifts every week.
4. Use technology when it helps and know when to put it away.
There are countless apps available to help keep you off the internet and help you focus.
I set a timer on my phone to go off once an hour to remind me to take a quick break and refocus on what I was working on. It’s especially helpful when I’ve gotten off track.
We are all natural procrastinators, but if you put off raising major gifts, you’ll never raise them. I’ve the seen the pattern too many times. Procrastination can go on forever if there is no reward or penalty associated with raising major gifts.
Join the conversation. Leave a comment below and let us know what you do to stay motivated and on track when raising major gifts.