Back in my events-heavy days of running the Timeraiser program, we used to use a well-worn truism: setting up an event takes exactly as long as you have.
No matter if we had 4 hours or 12 hours to set up, either way we’d still find ourselves sprinting around the room, cleaning up bits of string and crumpled up paper as the first guests walked in.
Fundraising is no different.
A full-time fundraiser will spend all day, every day looking for new sources of funding, calling donors, tweaking the language of appeals. If you’re reading this, you probably don’t have the luxury of full-time development staff. Which means you have to find time to fundraise in between dozens of other URGENT mission-related tasks.
You’re managing to squeeze in time to scribble a donor update, or maybe review a donor appeal that a board committee put together. You get it done! But you know that it could be easier. It’s all a bit ad hoc. You know that your mission deserves more financial support.
So do this for me. Over the next week, note how many minutes you spend daily working on a task related to fundraising. That could include grant prospecting, building a proposal for a new corporate sponsor, promoting ticket sales for the upcoming young professionals brunch (and 100 other things). At the end of the week, tally that up. I bet it’s not an insignificant amount of time!
Next, try block out that much time to dedicate exclusively to fundraising, in one chunk. Instead of multi-tasking, try focusing. Finish one task before you start the next. This is what we do at The Good Partnership and it has increased our productivity significantly.
You may not be able to create more hours in the day, but you can be more effective with your time so that you can focus on the important things that need to get done.
All that time that you didn’t spend on fundraising execution can go back into taking care of the many other needs of your organization.