It’s that time of year again. A time when many of us take stock of where we have been and where we would like to be personally and professionally in the coming year. We often call these musings “New Year’s resolutions.”
Whether you tend to make too many resolutions or too few, these resolutions usually involve making a pledge to yourself to do more or less of something, right? Eat better, exercise more, save for retirement, etc.
In making your New Year’s resolutions as a fundraising professional, you can apply the same model for personal resolutions to your work. Below are a few to get you thinking.
1. Go on a program diet
Cut down on programs that aren’t working to make room for those that do work. Should you be spending less time on special events and more time on major gifts? Perhaps you can cut out meetings that aren’t about moving the needle. Look for standing meetings that could be reassigned to someone on your staff so you can spend more time with prospects and donors.
2. Work out with a professional
Sometimes a gym membership just isn’t enough; we need a personal trainer to encourage us and hold us accountable. An outside development assessment can provide you and your organization with objective feedback, realistic goals, and a plan to reach those goals.
3. Tidy up your database
Your donor database contains both obvious treasures and hidden gems. Do you know how to find them? Audit your database to ensure that the information within creates clarity, not confusion.
4. Invest for your future
What is on the horizon and where do you want your program to go? Are you headed for a campaign? Is it time for a campaign readiness assessment or strategic planning retreat with your CEO and Board? Are there more grant opportunities than you have time to pursue? Use this time to develop a strategic plan with your CEO and Board that invests in the areas you seek to grow.
5. Team getaways
A Board or staff retreat is a great way to escape from the day-to-day pressures and set new intentions as a team. Use the time to explore new ways to approach fundraising or provide training sessions. Think about it as a hiking trip or cooking class for fundraising in a new setting!
6. Improve your relationships
Similar to your personal relationships with family and friends, are you and your team putting enough energy into donor cultivation and stewardship? What could you gain from a more intentional plan to ensure that your donors and prospects are getting the time and attention they deserve?
7. Try something new
Have you thought about starting a new wellness regimen, such as a daily walk, meditating, pickleball, or painting? Similarly, is it time to look elsewhere in your career? At the very least, consider updating your resume with some of your accomplishments from the past year. You can take that a step further by connecting with an executive search firm for a strengths assessment, or maybe even dip your toes into consulting.
What will be your fundraising resolution for 2023?