The Fundraiser's Daily Grind
As human beings, we only have the capability to handle so much in our daily lives. We continually pile on the work until we get all of it done, which we never do, get sick, or decide enough is enough and take a cruise. Before you make the decision on next steps, I suggest you sit down at a Starbucks and do what I did last week before a meeting. I mentally called it preparing for the daily grind.
I was sitting at a Starbucks at 7 a.m. waiting for my 7:30 a.m. meeting, rewriting my to-do list and creating meeting notes as I took inventory of the paper in my briefcase. I had coffee and was ready for the meeting. I was happy knowing that I had a three-day weekend ahead of me.
A typical day for me includes a variety of internal and external meetings, telephone calls, countless emails, and bracing for the unexpected. I have to prepare a PowerPoint presentation plus design a daylong leadership session. I have 15 days to generate $76,000 in order to make a Christmas goal. I am attempting to figure out a way to obtain this goal. A meeting with a donor that was held yesterday will provide a tremendous boost toward this goal, and he knows it. I await his final response on the ask.
I must plan for statewide trips to various locations as part of an intensive fundraising audit process. I am now scheduling training sessions with several advisory boards in various locations. I am working with my boss and organizational leadership group on developing a significant planning study. I am doing research on potential capital campaigns. I just created a meeting with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy on a learning matter. I am prioritizing many other items related to management of my staff at work.
As a volunteer, I have a weekend call with other volunteers in my role as vice president of my alumni chapter. I am assisting in creating a television basketball game alumni gathering. I am working on my introduction of the public safety director at next week's Kiwanis business meeting. I must schedule a meeting with my priest and fundraising committee in my parish council chairmanship at church. I just received a call from my mentee, as I am a mentor for the Indiana Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. The to-do list grows on and on.
I will take a breath on the weekend and watch my 9-year-old grandson play on his basketball team. I still cherish the trophy he and I held as coach at last season's final baseball tournament. I just found out my 5-year-old granddaughter will play baseball, or as she says "spaceball," this coming summer. I wonder if I need to help coach that team. My computer crashed last night as I worried about my police officer son after learning of another shooting in Indianapolis.
Twenty-six minutes after beginning this blog I must stop. My 7:30 a.m. meeting is here, and it is time to begin the daily grind. I suggest that you create your own daily To-Do Daily Grind list. You will be amazed at how much you accomplish each day.
To survive and thrive, I have 10 ideas for you for implement:
- Balance your work and home life to maximize productivity.
- Prioritize what is most important on your to-do list.
- Break down your list in short- and long-term activities.
- Add and delete volunteer activities, and make them seasonal for balance.
- Have some downtime built into your schedule.
- Understand what gives you satisfaction.
- Do the hardest stuff first.
- Include your family in your to-do list.
- Stop and celebrate your victories.
- Accept the daily grind for what it is.
I try to get plenty of sleep, work out, mentally relax and keep a balanced life so I am refreshed and ready to go when the grind begins each day. To give it your best you must be on top of your game and give 100 percent. Our jobs are not easy, and we need to understand that a balance is required for success. If you do not know what the problem is, you will not have a solution for it. Think about what you need to do each day and how you can increase the quality of productivity over time. In reality, it is only a grind if you let it be a grind. Adjust your attitude, and you will look at each day in a positive way!
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, lecturer and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 11 years. He has been a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where he was previously named the AFP Indiana Chapter Fundraising Executive of the Year and has held the CFRE designation for many years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-224-1029.