Fundraisers burn out at incredibly high rates.
The job feels isolating, lonely, and defeating.
Energy is often VERY low.
I know I’m preaching to the choir, but I want you to know that you are not alone.
Not only have I been there myself, but I tackle these challenges with my clients every day.
Because of these feelings – dread, overwhelm, not good enough-ness – we avoid doing one of the main things that will change our experience.
We don’t write down our goals.
Dr. Gail Matthews a psychology professor at Dominican University of California has demonstrated that you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down.￼
Now stay with me.
You might claim that you know your goals because you have your annual budget and monthly revenue targets but those are pressure points and external metrics. They are often not motivating because they are written on some spreadsheet in the cloud that sits in the back of your mind but isn’t a goal you feel energizing to mobilize around. Am I right?
I am sure it isn’t a shock that we need more tangible goals. So why do we avoid setting them?
The main reason is that we’re scared.
What if we write it down and then we STILL don’t achieve it?
Then there is a record of our failure!
Then we REALLY must be bad at our job.
And on, and on, and on, and on.
We have so many stories like this.
Are you exhausted?
Our self-critics are relentless when we’re putting ourselves out there when we’re risking ‘rejection’ when we’re pushing our boundaries.
Fundraising activates our self-critics like nothing I’ve ever seen. It is the primary work I tackle with my clients every day.
If you experience thought patterns like this, it’s totally normal. But let’s just ask that voice to quiet down for a second so we can get to work, shall we?
Ok, here we go…..
We need to start by writing down what’s important to YOU.
Then we need to look at your goals and make them ACTIONABLE.
Get a pen and paper and follow along. I’m serious. Follow these steps and write this down RIGHT NOW….
1. Put your annual revenue goal at the top
2. Now let’s be more specific. How much do you need to/want to raise by June 30th? Write that goal down.
3. Next, write down all of the reasons this is important. Try to stick with reasons that are empowering (or instead of ‘because otherwise, I might lose my job’ try ‘because this money will allow 50 refugee families to receive basic supplies such as….’). And take each reason a step further, “And why is that important?” Ask that again and again until you get to the root of why this matters. (Note: if you cannot find a core reason that lights you up and gets you excited about your work, there might be a deeper alignment issue between you and the organization.)
4. What will you feel, experience, and share by achieving the goal stated in #2?
5. Make it specific, measurable, and actionable (google SMART goals if you don’t know how to do this). So if my goal was to raise 50k by June 30th, I might make it specific, measurable, and actionable by saying, “Call our top 50 donors by June 1st and ask them if they will double down on their investment in our organization even without our Spring Gala.”
6. Then ask yourself, on a scale of 1-10, how committed are you to this specific goal?
7. Whatever the number (unless you’re at a 10), ask: ‘What do I need to do to increase that number by 1?’
8. Whatever the answer to that question is, THAT is your action step for today! (i.e. For my example, it might be ‘Look at the donor records for 2019 and 2020 and identify 50 of the top lapsed donors who would have given at the spring gala and export list with phone numbers to track calls.)
Note: Be careful if your ‘first step’ is research. This is often a mind trick to avoid action.
What did you come up with? Email me back and let me know (one great way to solidify the accountability is to share the goal!). And if you don’t want to email me, how ARE you going to hold yourself accountable? Write it down!
If you made it this far, I’m really proud of you.
I hope you’re proud of yourself too.
The time for action is now, and you CAN do this.
I’m cheering you on,
P.S. If you liked this activity or struggled with it, book a discovery session to find out how working together 1:1 can help you achieve this and much MUCH more.