10 Things I Learned From 30 Years in Sustainer Giving, Part 5
As a fundraiser, your life is not easy. There are days when you wonder why you’re doing it all. There are days where you’re just Zoomed out. You can’t possibly think about yet one more event, one more direct mail campaign, one more Giving Tuesday or other giving day campaign. The stress is huge. There are times when you wonder if it’s really going to make a difference!
I’ve been sharing what I’ve learned about sustainer giving (see links to my previous lessons at the end of this article), and I’m here to say: You do make a difference, one day, one mission at a time. But for those days where doubt and worry and stress come into the picture, it’s really important to take a look at these final learnings.
9. Surround Yourself With Positive People and Positive Things
I am very fortunate to have married one of the most positive people on the planet. But even with that, it’s important to surround yourself with other positive people and positive things.
As an avid reader, I love reading positive books, like those written by Jon Gordon. While I’m not a sports fan, his books are easy to read, easy to understand and inspiring. And I do love romance novels — nothing too heavy and certainly nothing too depressing.
I love watching positive, uplifting and inspirational movies. I don’t watch a lot of violence and rarely watch anything above PG-13. It’s just too much at times.
I eat my piece of chocolate every night with my cup of coffee and a Dutch stroopwafel (really sweet) if I need that special pick-me-up.
You do have a choice in what you watch and hopefully also with whom you surround yourself. If you can recharge your battery with someone and/or something that’s positive, it will be much easier to deal with a bad or stressful day.
10. Believe and Never Give Up
If you believe that your donors want to help, that’s golden. If you believe that you can grow your sustainers, you’ll be much more motivated than someone who doesn’t. It’s really as simple as that. And if something at first doesn’t seem to work, try something else. Do one extra thing. Share your little wins with others. Believe in the goals you wrote down earlier and you’ll be much more likely to accomplish them.
I’m going to leave you with one more thought: There will be days when you feel like you’re just a spider in a web and you feel you can’t get out. There will be days that you feel like you’re pushing a rock up a hill. But, according to Marian Anderson, “If you have a purpose in which you can believe, there’s no end to the amount of things you can accomplish.”
Editor's Note: This is the fifth part of a five-part series, 10 Things I Learned From 30 Years in Sustainer Giving. Each part contains two lessons.
10 Things I Learned From 30 Years in Sustainer Giving
Part 1: Details Can Make and Break Your Program, and No Room for Silos
Part 2: Operations Is Your Friend and Curiosity Is a Virtue
Part 3: Challenges Are Opportunities and Add Just One More Thing
Part 4: Think Long-Term and Set Goals
Part 5: Surround Yourself with Positivity and Never Give Up
Erica Waasdorp is one of the leading experts on monthly giving. She is the president of A Direct Solution, a company serving nonprofit organizations with fundraising and direct marketing needs, with a focus on monthly giving and appeals. She authored "Monthly Giving: The Sleeping Giant" and "Monthly Giving Made Easy." She regularly blogs and presents on fundraising, appeals and monthly giving — in person and through webinars. She is happy to answer any questions you may have about this great way of improving retention rates for your donors.
Erica has over 30 years of experience in nonprofits and direct response. She helped the nonprofits she works with raise millions of dollars through monthly giving programs. She is also very actively supports organizations with annual fund planning and execution, ranging from copywriting, creative, lists, print and mail execution.
When she’s not working or writing, Erica can be found on the golf course (she’s a straight shooter) or quietly reading a book. And if there’s an event with a live band, she and her husband, Patrick, can be found on the dance floor. She also loves watching British drama on PBS. Erica and Patrick have two step sons and a cat, Mientje.