One Impactful Action by 12/31

Dear Kim,

I have taken many fundraising workshops, including from you, and I always find that I learn a lot. BUT, and this is a big BUT, I am hardly ever able to implement anything I learned because I have no time. Someone suggested just trying to figure out one thing I could do differently for a short period of time, so I am asking you: what is one thing I could do between now and the end of the calendar year that will make a big difference to our fundraising?

~No Room for Development (Director)

Dear Room for,

Truth be told, your dilemma is partly how people like me make a living. Someone comes to a workshop, isn’t able to do anything she learned, so comes to another one. The problem is that you go to workshops to learn new things when what you really need to do is go to a workshop about how to change the way you work.

Your friend has shared a big insight with you, which is that big changes often begin with very small changes. So, for example, rather than “I am not going to eat sugar on weekdays, ” how about, “I am not going to put sugar in my tea M, W, F”? You are far more likely keep that promise, and then you can add to it.

What will make the biggest difference between now and the end of the year (assuming your year-end appeal is out, you have already planned to see some major donors, and you have a good and reliable process for recording gifts and thanking donors) is to send short notes or make short calls of appreciation to anyone who has helped with fundraising this year. The more you show how much you appreciate other people’s work, the more work they will do for you and with you, because what will make the biggest difference to your workload going forward is having a team of people you can rely on to help out.

Stop telling yourself you have no time. What you don’t have is enough help. Focus on solving that problem, one note or call of appreciation at a time.

~Kim Klein