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How Fundraisers Spend Their Time



Ask any professional fundraiser what they did this week, and you will probably get the “I can’t believe you asked me that” look or a blank stare because they were so busy they don’t remember. Development professionals are always busy and typically juggle a variety of activities.

 

Fundraisers balance a variety of duties every day such as working on that next donor, grant proposal or event. There’s always too much to do and not enough time to do everything.

 

You can find tons of articles, blogs, books, and webinars about time management, but that becomes another item on the to-do list. So here’s a quick summary of what you can do to make the most of the time you have and still have a life.

 

Time Management

There are two parts to time management: prioritizing your work and setting your goals, preferably SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound) ones.

 

If you could only do one thing today, what would it be:

the board report that’s due tomorrow

schedule a meeting with a donor

attend a networking event?

 

Which one will have a high impact for your organization? Choose that one and make it your top priority. Achieve that one thing and you’ve had a good day. That does not mean you don’t do anything else, but you did achieve your top priority for that day.

 

Set SMART goals for your week, always with the intent of moving your organization forward, raising the money needed to serve your constituents. Share those goals with your team and your boss. Put them someplace visible to you and your coworkers. SMART goals help you stay focused and motivated. Encourage your team to do the same.

 

Best Practices

You can’t do it all alone. Allow yourself to delegate tasks to team members or even volunteers who have the capacity and skillset. An effective leader empowers their team and delegating is one way to encourage growth and confidence in others. Delegating also frees your time to focus on high-level initiatives.

 

Use technology to streamline processes and minimize manual tasks. Technology is a powerful tool for enhancing productivity and efficiency. Project management platforms, communications tools, and fundraising software are must haves.

 

Another great tip is to spend just ten minutes a week on stewardship. Ideally, you would devote more time at other times but on a regular basis, aim for at least a few touch points. Click HERE for details on how to create a 10-Minute Stewardship Plan.

 

Protect Your Time

Good time management is not just about maximizing productivity. It is also about maintaining your well-being. When you set boundaries around your time and energy you are also setting the example for your team and colleagues. A conscientious leader strives to balance their directive to maintain sustainable productivity and prevent burn-out. Leading by example allows others to prioritize family time, exercise, and other forms of self-care.

 

 

Michelle Crim, CFRE

 

Dynamic Development Strategies can help. We offer coaching, grant writing, and fundraising services for our nonprofit clients. We specialize in small to mid-size organizations because we understand your challenges. Please contact us for more information.

 

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