Fundraising takes creativity and patience. It also takes time, lots of it, and that’s a luxury not all of us can afford. We start out the year with big ideas and even bigger goals, yet before we know it, the campaign’s close is around the corner, and we feel like there’s still way too much to do! So, is it possible to avoid this age-old problem? Can we make sense of time while raising the most dollars and cents for our organization? Happily, the answer is yes, but it isn’t always easy.
First and foremost, face the reality of your annual campaign. Striving for the big numbers and attaining lofty goals are great, but it’s best to keep things reasonable and manageable. Think carefully about how to use your lay leadership in an efficient way so that you get the most “bang for your buck” in terms of getting things done and raising dollars.
Focus on the big picture and delegate, delegate, delegate. Remember your lay leadership: Don’t be afraid to assign them things you need done but don’t have the time to do yourself. Make sure your staff members and volunteers are being utilized to their fullest and best capacity. Ensure that everyone working for you understands their mission and is well trained.
Throw out what isn’t working. Just because your organization has been doing an honoree chicken dinner for 64 years does not mean that you have to go for 65! Yes, it may raise money, but if it’s boring and people hate it, think of other ways to bring in the funds. Don’t be afraid to try something new.
Ultimately, you want to raise the most money possible. Ask yourself, “Will this activity help me to reach my goal?” Look at your development budget and make sure that what you are doing is directly related to a budget line. In the end, balancing your time will mean a better balance to your bottom line and better fundraising for your annual campaign.