I certainly hope that you enjoyed your summer — whether we filled it with vacation, enjoyed the outdoors, or just lounged around. In the fundraising world, the summer is book-ended by two exceptionally busy times. Traditionally, June is chaotic, with fundraisers anxiously trying to clear up their outstanding task lists before everybody heads for the hills on vacation. Juxtapose that with September, where everybody tries to restart their “machine”.
It has also dawned on me we have approximately 100 days left in the calendar year (yikes). Time just flies when you’re having fun, doesn’t it? Couple this startling fact with the notion that for some charities, 40% of their revenue comes in during the last 8 weeks of the year and you have an exceptionally busy time ahead of you.
All of this is not to scare you. Rather, it is simply stating the facts.
After the Summer: What Can You Do?
I have worked with some people who become paralyzed with all the “to do” lists and wind up doing nothing. That really helps nothing. To combat that feeling of being overwhelmed, I suggest you subdivide your huge task list into many “bite-sized” lists. Sometimes breaking down a major task into many sub-tasks is an easy way to show your progress. Remember, September occurs every year and we have to get through it.
I also recommend that you share your task list with your colleagues. This will accomplish two separate things. First, it will give your colleagues an idea of what you are dealing with (hoping they don’t add to your ever-growing list). Second, one of your colleagues may volunteer to help you with your list. You are all working as a team, rowing in the same direction (hopefully).
Celebrate your milestones as you check off items on the to do list. Maybe treat yourself to a fancy coffee. But set deadlines for yourself so that the less desirable items on the list don’t stay on the list indefinitely. We all have parts of the job that we would rather not do. But, alas, it is part of the job. If you gave yourself a coffee for doing one of the more likable tasks, perhaps give yourself an adult beverage for completing a less desirable task.
September can be a reinvigorating month. Do what you can to make it a positive experience.
Until next week.