Reflecting on 2012, With a Sigh of Relief
This is the time of year when we often do some reflecting and even come up with resolutions to improve in the new year. But I've learned over the years that this is also a great time of year to do a bit of self-congratulating. After all, if you don't praise yourself for the small accomplishments, who will?
So, in the spirit of self-congratulating, here are some reasons to give yourself a positive annual review for the work you've done in 2012.
You made (most of) your due dates
As fundraisers, we live by the schedule. But with dozens of direct-mail letters, e-appeals, newsletters (both print and online), events, annual reports and proposals passing through our hands over the course of 365 days, there's plenty of room for missing a due date.
Since Jan. 1, you've mailed, e-mailed, called and visited your donors, inspiring many of them to send in donations to help you carry out your important work. You may have been behind a time or two, but bottom line is you hit your schedule more often than not.
So, congratulations! You did a great job. A lot of money was raised because of your hard work and commitment to schedules.
Your mistakes were (usually) not life-threatening
Well, maybe you felt like your life was threatened, but let's face it — most of our mistakes aren't permanently on view. (Kills me to admit it, but our mail and e-mails all too often are thrown out or deleted.) Have you ever considered the plight of the person who carves the date into a cornerstone? A mistake there lives on forever.
Years ago, I sent out a direct-mail appeal to raise money for programs helping women in Mozambique whose husbands had been killed in the civil war. Paragraph two in the appeal asked donors to support our work with "war windows." How that "n" got in there, I'll never really know. But the truth is, other than me, no one remembers. The letter still raised money, and our projects were funded.
Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.