check up
Well, here we are.  It’s Spring and the last week of March already, although for most of the country it still feels like the dead of winter.  It seems like just last week I wrote a bunch of New Year’s resolutions to challenge us to boldly move forward in 2013.
I think checking in with ourselves, both professionally and personally, is really important; not as some form of punishment, but as a way to stay accountable and keep focused.
So, I’m going to remind you of the resolutions I offered and give you some practical advice on how to check in with your work.  Let’s start with the professional side first.
Here are some things you’ll want to do over the next couple of weeks to make sure you are tracking with your work:

  1. Review individual donor goals—How are you doing compared to your budgeted goals?  If you cash-flowed your goals, are you on track?  Who is behind?  Make a list of those donors and create a “getting back to goal” strategy for each of them.
  2. Review strategic/communication plan—Have you stuck to your communication plan for each of your donors?  Are you sending personal notes, making calls and are you on track with all your face-to-face visits?  It’s key that you stick with your plan and continue to work it.  Sometimes things happen and you go sideways a bit.  By checking in now you still have time to right the ship.
  3. Time allocation—Remember how important it is that you spend 50% of your time on your A donors.  Is this really happening?  Check your time.  Sometimes Richard and I see MGOs who love to spend a lot of time on donors they really like vs. donors who have more capacity to give.  Now is the time to be honest with yourself and make sure you have allocated your time correctly.
  4. Do you have the right donors on the boat?—Now’s the right time to assess your caseload and make sure you have the best 150 donors.  Check your database to make sure you haven’t missed any new donors who may have given a major gift, but are yet to be qualified for a caseload. They may need to go on your caseload.  But, hold on.  That also means you need to replace a donor who is no longer capable at this point of making a major gift.  You can’t keep adding to your caseload of 150 donors without taking someone off.  This is really, really important.
  5. Check in with your supervisor—If you haven’t already, you need to check in with your manager and give him or her an update on where you are with your caseload.  Be proactive rather than waiting to be asked.  Show your manager both the highlights and the challenges you currently have and how you are going to address the challenges.  You don’t want to be in a situation where you really haven’t checked in with your manager until the end of the year and revenue is behind goal and both of you are not very happy about the situation.  Richard and I see this happen all the time.  MGOs want to hide bad news and managers don’t manage.  As an MGO, you can make sure this doesn’t happen by proactively bringing challenges into the light.  You will be so glad you did.

Okay, so those are five solid ideas to work through in the next couple of weeks.  In fact, go schedule a meeting with your supervisor today to force you to do all this.
Now, let’s check in on those resolutions:  For those who don’t remember, here are the ones I proposed at the end of last year:

    1. Take time for reflection — we are so busy going and doing we don’t take time to pause and be quiet.  This allows us to clear our heads see more clearly.I’m doing so-so on this one.  Some days I take the time and breathe, but I have to admit, I’ve gone weeks just doing.  This is a good reminder for me.


    1. Prioritize your life — this is the one where I asked you, including myself, to figure out what is most important in life.  This helps us focus on the right things.This one I’m doing pretty well with.  At the beginning of the year I made my list and I’ve been pretty good at spending most of my time on what I think is important.


    1. Do Less—you and I are always on the go.  We always want to do more and more.  No, you can’t have 250 on your caseload.  No, you can’t treat all your donors the same and spend just as much time on your C level donors as you do on your A level donors.  Yes, you don’t have to do everything.Okay, on this one I’m blowing it.  While I don’t have a caseload to manage myself, I know that I’m not simplifying things.  This is something I have to turn around this quarter and focus on the right things that will make the biggest impact.


    1. Practice Gratitude—here is what I said about gratitude in January:A. When you wake up each morning, think about what an amazing job you are privileged to have, helping people change the world and themselves with their money.
      B. When you get to work, write down the names of three donors for whom you are so grateful.  Think about how they have helped your organization and changed lives and situations for the good.  Put those donors in your “gratitude bowl.”
      C. Everyday hand-write a thank you note to two of your donors – not because they gave a gift that day, but for their commitment to the mission of your organization.  In other words, thank them – just because.
      D. At least once per month, write a note or say a kind word to a colleague who helps you become more successful in your work.  Make it meaningful.
      E. During dinner, make it a practice to talk about what you were grateful for each day.  If you are alone, write it down.  If you are with others, get everyone to participate.  Witness what happens.How have you done on this one?  Some days I’m really good at this and others I’m a total failure.  But, this is a good reminder for me to keep it going because I know when I put these into practice, good things happen.


  1. Move Forward—Well this one is a reminder that when we put work goals or personal resolutions in place, we have to keep working at them, even if we sometimes fail at them…or even if we dismally fail at them.  We could get down about them and think all is lost or that it’s not even worth the bother.  Or, we can get up, dust ourselves off and keep moving forward.

So, there it is…  your 1st Quarter check in reminder for 2013.  Hey, the good news is that  if you are behind or you’re not performing where you’d like to be, you have a lot of time this year to get it going again.  That is why checking in and reviewing where you are is so critical, especially after the first three months of the year.
Thanks for checking in with me.  I’m looking forward to the rest of the year with you.