New Year’s Resolutions

December 18, 2020

This past year has …… sucked. I vividly remember picking up friends from the airport over the holidays last year when China was on lockdown and proclaiming that North Americans would never allow such a shutdown. Boy, was I wrong! I miss the comradery of working with colleagues, visiting with donors, and being able to celebrate appropriately. That being said, perhaps 2021 will be a better year — it certainly couldn’t be much worse! In that vein, I think we can all come up with some fundraising resolutions for 2021:

  1. Call at least five entry-level donors a week to thank them for their support and not ask them for a gift. (And, of course, record that action in the database.) That’s really two separate resolutions, but we can count it as one complete action.
  2. Spend at least an hour (straight, not cumulative) a day away from the desk (wherever that is, these days) doing something to clear your head — whether it be a walk, a run, or just sitting on a park bench having a coffee.
  3. Read at least one work-related book per month. I have heard that this pretty awesome book, Tales from the Trenches: What I Learned from 25 years in Fundraising, can be found on Amazon 😉
  4. Help at least one colleague/fellow fundraiser per month to achieve one of their own personal goals. This could be done by affording them some time from a busy schedule or making introductions to help them on their own path.
  5. Keep the fun in fundraising.
  6. I have come across so many friends and colleagues who are genuinely distressed in the last year. Some may need an ear to hear them out, while others may want some guidance. Everybody has gone through low points during this pandemic, and it behooves us all to remember that.
  7. Maintain a strong work ethic – it is really easy to lose motivation while working from home or working in an augmented office reality. Many charities are doing some awesome work and have really risen to the challenges that COVID has presented. Remember that fundraising is a means to an end and not an end in and of itself. You are helping to make the world a better place.
  8. Find at least one mentor and at least one protégé. You can learn something from anybody. It doesn’t need to be a formal relationship, but even monthly check-ins to ask for advice (or give advice). Many times, fundraising can be a lonely profession where it seems like nobody “gets” what it is all about. Realize that many other professionals are in the same boat, and sometimes just chatting with others validates your concerns.
  9. Find a few charities that you really admire. Perhaps you may want to donate to them. Or, maybe you can implement some of their successes into your own program.
  10. Realize that 2021 may still be a year of flux. There may be a vaccine on the horizon, but there are still lots of restrictions for many. The new year won’t be as jarring as the past year (hopefully), but we must learn to adapt and move forward.

I will be taking a few weeks off writing the blog over the holidays, but I look forward to writing some more in 2021. Another of my many resolutions. If you are suffering from blog-withdrawal, my most popular articles can be found here.