You will NOT succeed if…


You will not succeed in finding (or raising) money for your project or organization if you:

  • Are too busy to focus on what matters.
  • Focus on the wrong things.
  • Don’t plan your week, or do it sporadically.
  • Let the meetings and daily activities of your office dictate how you spend your time.
  • Don’t prioritize the activities you know be effective.
  • Don’t get help when you need it.

I know it’s hard: I experience this on a regular basis. There’s just too much to do and it can be hard to stay focussed. Whoever is standing in my office, sending me an email, or calling on the phone gets attention.

I wrote this a couple of years ago and it’s still applicable:

You have to prioritize your time and energy or you end up never getting to the things that matter: engaging prospects and donors in the life of the organization and demonstrating gratitude to each one. Bottom line is that the personal relationships you create with INDIVIDUAL donors must be your first and primary objective. Until you are successful doing that, don’t get sidetracked with anything else.

Here are a few ideas that I use when I get stuck or too busy.

  1. Create a simple plan for talking to people who can make a difference. I suggested a strategy in this post from September 2012.
  2. Try blocking out at least 1 hour per week to work on prioritized activities related to your plan.
  3. Follow Stephen Covey’s most important habit: have integrity with yourself in the moment of choice. When it comes down to actually spending the time doing what you wanted to do? Do it. Don’t let other things or people get in the way, it will undermine your success.
  4. Find someone who will email or call you at the end of each week to ask how you spent that hour. Pay them.

Pro Tip: A simple way to start having success in fundraising is to schedule lunch meetings with board members and major donors (one-on-one). Ask them questions about your project or nonprofit. Listen. Listen. Listen. Make it a standing day of the week and automate the scheduling as much as possible.

What are some ways you stay focussed on the things and people that matter? I love comments! Let me know what you think.