Why fundraising is like working out.

April 13, 2018

Many people know that aside from fundraising, I now like to work out. I try to run at least 20 kilometres a week outdoors and when the weather is nice, I like to cycle approximately 150 kilometres. I may even consider myself on the continuum of being ‘fit’. As a fundraiser (who just so happens to work at the YMCA-YWCA), I am exceptionally lucky to be able to work out where I work out of (pun intended).

Every great fitness trainer will sing the praises of interval training. When I first started running, it was an ugly sight. I sounded like an ad for “Primatene Mist” — I was huffing and puffing so hard that my lungs actually hurt. So, how did I get to the point where I can run 13 kilometres without a break? Interval training.

What is interval training? In a nutshell, it is where you work really hard and then take a short (but actual) break. So I started running with five-and-ones (run for 5 minutes, walk for one minute) and my endurance and stamina increased to ten-and-ones and eventually, I take my break at 80 minutes — and my breathing is actually controlled!

The same process can be put into the fundraising realm. (Or any profession, for that matter.) Work really hard and then follow that hard work with a short break. It does make you stronger. I promise. But it also makes you a better employee. I work really hard at my profession. By extension, I also relax really well (it has taken me many years to be able to do this proficiently). Perhaps it’s a walk in the park to unplug and relax. Perhaps it’s hoisting a few cold ones after a particularly challenging day.

You can almost certainly tell that a long-distance runner who starts the race off going full tilt for the duration will most likely run out of steam and come in with a less-than-impressive finishing time. The same can be said for fundraising. If you perform at an unsustainable pace, you will very likely burn out.