Fundraising Resolution No. 1: Get Fit
No matter how busy you are, never let a month go by without reviewing the reports to see how your overall fundraising health is. Problems can creep in, and by the time a quarter has gone by, the situation can be close to a crisis.
Think of yourself as Hans Brinker — every day, come in and look for the little leaks that can turn into deluges. The best time to plug these leaks is when they are small, not when you are frantically trying to paddle upstream simply to survive.
Get more exercise
For fundraisers, exercise that pays off has a lot to do with getting away from the computer screen and talking to donors. Take donor calls for a few hours, and find out what they are complaining about. Call a few donors just to thank them for their gifts, and ask them what it is about your programs that really excites them.
Readers with small organizations may be shaking their heads and saying, “What do you think I do all day?!” At larger organizations, though, when there are multiple fundraisers with specific duties, it can be easy to lose sight of the donors if our focus is on the mailing list or e-mail file or planning an event, for example. Whatever your position, resolve to enjoy your donors more in 2014 — after all, laughing together with a donor is great exercise.
Get some rest
Fundraising is hard work. There’s always a new idea to pursue; a new method to get up to speed on; a new opportunity that needs a letter, an e-mail, a Web page or something else to communicate it to our supporters.
So resolve to take care of yourself in 2014, too. Something will probably be left undone — but that’s usually true, no matter how hard or long you work. Take a breather and rekindle your enthusiasm for fundraising. Yes, it’s a job — but hopefully it’s a joy, too.