As the year winds down, I like to reflect on what I’ve accomplished this year, what I’m still committed to working on next year, and what ideas or projects need to be abandoned and not carried into the new year. (Yes, it’s okay to cut some things loose than need to be let go.)
You may think of this process as creating resolutions, but most resolutions are often broken. I create goals (as opposed to resolutions) and review them annually, monthly, and even weekly.
You may do something similar (or you should) with regard to your life, work, and fundraising. You may wish to have separate lists, but mine is integrated, as my life and work flow back and forth between one another.
Although I believe in work-life balance, I don’t subscribe to the traditional “work from 9 to 5, Monday through Friday” type of schedule. I’m often involved with board retreats on weekends or during the evening, so if I have something personal to do during the traditional workweek, I don’t think twice about it.
My Top 10 Goals and Suggestions for Fundraisers
As you may know from some of my most popular prior posts, I’m a list maker. I like to check things off as I accomplish them and view the progress I’ve made.
Here’s my top 10 list of goals and suggestions for an amazing year, in no particular order. Some are big and abstract, others are more concrete.
1. Read a great book – inspirational or educational.
I’m currently reading “A Path Appears” by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. If you’re looking for inspiration or need a reminder of why you got into philanthropy in the first place, I highly recommend this book.
My favorite new fundraising book of the year is called “Train Your Board” by Andrea Kihlstedt and Andy Robinson. If one of your goals is to create a culture of philanthropy at your organization and among your board members, this book is a must-read.
If you haven’t already done so, I hope you’ll consider my new book published last spring: “Major Gift Fundraising for Small Shops.” The more I think about it, the more I wish it was titled more appropriately as, “How to Get Started Raising Major Gifts.”
2. Try something new.
In my writing and speeches, I often refer to the definition of insanity — doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result. It pains me to see fundraisers doing the same things year after year, and expecting to raise more money. What will you try that’s new and different this year?
3. Remember the tried and true.
Use the phone to call your donors. There’s still time to do this before the year ends. Here’s a fantastic post from my friend and colleague, Gail Perry, on how and why to pick up the phone and call your donors.
4. Set a huge goal.
This one is key to your success, and has helped me more in my career than anything else.
If you don’t set a huge goal, then you will only set your goal based on what you did last year. Think outside the box and think big!
In 2015, I will be embarking on a formal research project for the first time since graduate school. It has been something I’ve been thinking about and planning for a long time, and it’s finally coming to fruition. I can’t wait to share more about this in the coming months.
5. Learn a new skill.
Whether it’s from taking classes, attending a conference, or reading books, I always have new skills on my list. Check out Pam Grow’s 12 Days of Christmas Nonprofit Gifts Giveaway.
6. Laugh every day.
Sometimes life gets too serious and too hectic. Although I hate to admit it, I sometimes need to remind myself to laugh and play with my kids every day. (It’s a welcome break from nagging them to do their homework, clean their rooms, brush their teeth, and get to bed!)
7. Get inspired.
Need some inspiration?
I love this two minute segment on the power of peer to peer fundraising by Andy Robinson, as part of Chris Davenport’s Movie Mondays. It brought tears to my eyes.
8. Think happy thoughts.
Did you know that happy people give more to charity?
That’s pretty important information for you to have as a fundraiser. Harvard Business School produced a working paper called Feeling Good About Giving, which showed, “…happier people give more and giving makes people happier.”
In other words, the more you give, the happier you are, and the happier you are, the more you give. How awesome is that?
And doesn’t it make sense that happy people would want to be around other happy people? So if you’re happy, it’s more likely that your donors will want to be around you. That’s huge for major gift fundraising.
9. Take the Major Gifts Challenge
If you haven’t already taken the Major Gifts Challenge, it’s not too late to start.
10. Reflect upon traditional year-end fundraising wisdom.
In case you were looking for more of my traditional fundraising ideas, here are some of my favorite year-end posts:
- Holiday Donor Gifts that Keep on Giving – Without Costing a Thing
- 5 Practical Steps to Raising Major Gifts in Time for Year-End
- 4 Actions You Can Take Today to Raise More Year-End Money
So what are some of your year-end / new year goals? Share them in the comments.