The time is always right to implement new ideas into your fundraising approach.
Whether you find yourself at the end of a quarter or a fiscal year, consider each milestone a chance to create new habits that improve outcomes in your fundraising programs. Then, consider how you can apply these same principles in your personal life for more mindful daily living. Seek to amplify your fundraising goals by developing new habits of setting goals, stretching creativity, and communicating more effectively.
Fundraise by Setting a Goal
From fundraising to home renovation, begin to make intentional goal setting a part of your daily practice. Goal setting is most effective when it helps you take small steps toward bigger success, and making it a key feature of your fundraiser is a powerful way to drive home the purpose, mission, and impact your fundraiser can have. It also helps concentrate the energy of your development team and donors toward reaching your organizational mission.
The key to a successful fundraiser is setting a goal that will push the limits of what you can earn while inspiring your committee, staff, and volunteers to push themselves that extra mile to reach the goal. A good goal will:
- improve upon past performance;
- include quantitative and qualitative metrics; and
- be attainable enough to inspire optimal performance.
For more on goal setting, consider 4 Goal Setting Strategies for your Fundraiser and start making these strategies habit. Practicing goal setting will shape your thinking in all areas of your life, helping you break big ideas into smaller, attainable parts.
Fundraise with Bold Creativity
The annual nature of fundraisers means that resource development managers, fundraisers, and even donors might begin to feel a sense of exhaustion–and perhaps boredom–when the fundraising efforts have the same flavor each year. Make it a habit this year to push your team to think outside the box on what it means to host a fundraiser.
Decide that this will be your organization’s year of creative thinking, and seek to re-frame how your donor base sees the fundraising process. This can be as simple as picking a particularly relevant theme that feels current or tailored to the human stories behind your work, or as significant as radically casting a new vision for your signature event. Steps like these can inject much need new energy and inspiration into your fundraiser.
Extend this habit beyond your fundraising responsibilities and pick up a new creative hobby, such as painting or drawing. Training your mind to play in creative spaces will benefit your mood and your ability to come up with winning ideas in business and community support.
Fundraise with Better Listening
At its core, fundraising is essentially communication. From inspiring your donors to crafting the perfect fundraising pitch with your fundraising team, good communication is key to a more successful fundraiser and more engagement from the community stakeholders.
The traditional model of communication is all about sending, receiving and interpreting messages. Organizations usually have a good idea of the message they want to send, but it can be difficult to understand exactly what response your donors are giving until after the fundraiser is over. So how can you listen better to your donors and stakeholders? In addition to having face-to-face conversations, try evaluating your historical data to see what messages the numbers might be sending. Data can be one of the most valuable sources of communicative feedback in a fundraiser, especially when you focus on trends.
And, communication isn’t exclusively an outward-facing practice. Communicating with your donors and fundraisers is a great way to make sure that they are informed about the fundraising goals and progress. Try establishing a timeline for communicating with your team as an internal communication strategy. Plot out targeted communications to make sure that staff members are staying active in their fundraising and proactively participating.
In your daily life, start using active listening to help you internalize what important people in your life are sharing. Paraphrase what you’ve heard in conversations, validate the underlying emotions, and respond thoughtfully. When you practice suspending your own thoughts while listening to others, you’ll be surprised at how much richer your conversations are.