Focus for Fundraising Success
It was a great meeting. Full of energy and excitement. We were renewing a relationship with a former client — this time to embark on a campaign feasibility and planning study.
Much of the client's end of the conversation kept jumping to the campaign. Leadership. Materials. Asks. The goal.
I embraced the client's enthusiasm and then suggested that we focus first on the task at hand — a road map for a successful study, from which the organization will then be able to plan and project the right leadership, messaging, prospective donors, goal and more.
Last night I was on a routine five-hour drive. My mind was bouncing all around. Some new initiatives. How to serve clients better. Ways to help our team better achieve our goals. After about an hour I got stressed — I was on overload.
Had I focused on just one topic, I would have probably brainstormed some good thoughts — that's what usually happens. But last night I struggled with focus.
Focus is vital in fundraising. Professionals in our field never have too little on their plates or small demands. Our work is important, and expectations are high.
"Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun's rays do not burn until brought to a focus," said Alexander Graham Bell.
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that we are keen on dividing up campaigns into phases, each with a distinct beginning and ending. The focus and synergy produce better results — and then you build on that.
In a campaign, be focused on the most important goals, those that will ensure your success. The same in your day-to-day development operations. What is it each day, each week and each month that you absolutely must focus on for the best possible fundraising results?
Focus means making choices. Focus means saying no. Focus means bringing others back to the critical tasks at hand — and realizing when you are detouring off course.
Practice focus; it is one of fundraising's most powerful tools!
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.