I once read that if you’re feeling so overwhelmed or anxious that you can’t focus, one of the best things you can do when you wake up in the morning is make your bed.

So I’ve practiced it, and it actually works. It gives me a feeling of control; I’ve immediately accomplished something already in my day. It makes me feel better.

I’ve been making my bed a lot lately.

We work with many overwhelmed, unfocused frontline fundraisers who struggle to stay on track with their goals. In fact, it’s more common than not. It’s one of the main reasons we’re brought in to help organizations with mid-level, major gifts, and planned giving programs.

We’re successful in helping those frontline fundraisers get back on track because we have a system that’s designed to help them. This system helps you get organized, stay on track, and create meaningful relationships with your donors. For fundraisers, establishing this kind of system has the same effect as making your bed in the morning. You start each day with a clear direction and a routine that gets you moving on your key priorities.

I read scores of comments from colleagues of yours around the world – people who are struggling so mightily with having to juggle so much and their inability to keep it all straight. Richard and I are passionate about sharing this system because we know it can help fundraisers like you who are seeking to make a bigger difference in the world.

There’s nothing earth-shattering about this system, what we call The Veritus Way™. But if you adopt it, you’ll be in more control, you’ll have clarity on your priorities, you’ll develop stronger relationships with your donors, and you’ll raise much more revenue than you ever dreamed you could.

Here’s how to start:

1. Create a caseload of no more than 150 qualified major donors.

The word qualified is the most important here. You can learn about how to qualify donors here. But this is single best way to keep the right focus and keep you from feeling overwhelmed, so that you’re spending your time with the right donors.

2. Create a revenue goal and strategic plan for every donor for the entire year.

I cannot stress enough how much this will help you lessen your stress. Yes, it takes a little work to do this, but thousands of frontline fundraisers have done it, and they’re happier and more successful than their colleagues who don’t do this. When you’re creating your plan, make sure you identify the donor’s passions and interests and their communication preferences. If you don’t know them, that’s your first goal to find that out.

3. Tier your donors, A-C.

This gives you further clarity about what donors to focus your time on. Your A-level donors typically give 50% of the total value of your caseload. That’s where you spend the majority of your time. (Learn to do this here.)

4. Meet with your manager consistently.

We recommend you meet weekly. This isn’t about micro-managing your work. Regular meetings with your manager should be about helping you stay focused on your strategic plan and so you can ask for guidance about any challenges you’re running into. In our experience, this is one of the key factors in helping you be successful, yet it’s also one area that many frontline fundraisers balk at. Richard and I understand that. But know that if you want to stay focused and really build authentic relationships with your donors, having a regular meeting where you’re held accountable and can ask questions really works.

These four steps are foundational to the structure we’ve developed at Veritus. They will help you stay on track so that you’re more organized, less overwhelmed, and focused on the right priorities, leaving you with more time to build real relationships with your donors.

Richard and I know for a fact that it will work for you as, again, thousands of frontline fundraisers have adopted this approach to their work – and it’s not only made them better fundraisers that raise much more revenue, but they’re happier in their work.


This post originally appeared on the Passionate Giving Blog on January 15, 2021.