Here we are at the top of a new year. You have (hopefully) survived the madness of year-end giving and are now on the other side. It feels like a relief until you realize that there’s more fundraising work to be done and you just have to keep going. Fundraising is not just a marathon, it’s a full on never-ending race. The question that comes to mind is – how can we make it easier so that we can keep going?
I’ve never been fond of the words “sustainable” or “sustainability” when it comes to the longevity of organizations. But I think it’s important to think about how you can sustain yourself. If you burn out, feel overwhelm, or just have too much on your plate, you won’t get very far in the fundraising race.
This was a concept I thought a lot about in 2017. I see increasing numbers of fundraisers who are working themselves to the bone and I keep wondering, how can we make it easier so that we can keep going and keep awesome people in our profession?
This is where the word and concept of leverage comes into play.
Leverage means taking one thing that you’ve done and using it to its maximum potential or advantage. It’s really about asking yourself – how else can I utilize the work I’ve done to increase my results? This is a question that most of us are not asking ourselves nearly often enough and it’s a question that will help us get more mileage our of our hard work.
A word for #fundraisers to embrace in 2018 -- Leverage. How will you get leverage in your fundraising program this year?
Here are some examples of what leverage looks like in action.
- Writing an email appeal for your email list, and then asking your board members to send that email to five of their contacts.
- Developing a major gift proposal for a prospect, and then using that same proposal for other prospects.
- Sending a successful email appeal to your list, and then resending that same email to people who didn’t open or click on the email the first time.
- Securing a major gift, and then using that gift as a matching gift for your annual donors.
- Writing a successful grant application, and then reusing language for future grant applications
Hopefully you can see from these examples, leverage is not about making more work for yourself. It’s about increasing your results by creatively using what you’ve already got in place.
As you think about where you can get leverage in your fundraising program, consider these questions:
- What were some of our recent successes?
- How else can we use the material or idea behind that success?
I hope that this concept inspires you to work smarter, not harder in 2018.