Recently, I did something that ended up really backfiring. I was in a space where I was giving of my mind, heart, energy, talents, and loving kindness at work, at home, in the community, and with family in big ways. This brought me joy, and I felt like I was doing some good in the world. I was going full speed, which initially was amazing because of how much I was getting done – until one day, it all hit me. I became irritable, edgy, dramatic, exhausted, and snappy. It wasn’t pretty, you all!
How did I let it get that way? To say it simply, I forgot to pour back in. I kept thinking, “I just need to get through the next thing, and then I’ll slow down,” but there is always another thing after that, so I just kept speeding up.
You might find yourself, particularly at this time of year, in the same place of speeding up, staying late, working over the weekend, and overextending elsewhere in your life while thinking, “If I can just get through the next thing…” You might be experiencing the impact of that on you physically, with headaches or lack of energy, in your actions, like procrastinating or isolating from others, or having a higher level of emotions such as anxiety, frustration, or anger.
Whew, I know it can be easy to get in that place. And there is a ton to do during this busy time of year for fundraisers. So, what can you do that is simple and quickly applicable?
First, consider what you’re believing right now. Have you convinced yourself that you just have to push and run and do everything possible to get the money in the door?
The truth is, it isn’t about the money – it’s about the relationship with your donors. This work is about building and deepening relationships through creating meaningful connections with donors. That may include thanking them, sending touch points, meeting with them, and yes, asking (and even asking boldly) for increased gifts.
Next, consider how you want to show up for your donors. Frazzled and anxious because you’re chasing the money, or grounded and focused on building a long-term relationship? You can be asking for the same exact increased gift, but your beliefs and energy are going to impact how the donor experiences the interaction.
One way to shift your energy is to take those 15-minute breaks to walk, breathe, laugh, dance, or close your eyes during the day, along with other self-care strategies. But first, you want to start with your mindset.
Your beliefs drive your actions, and your body responds.
Take a moment right now to close your eyes and think about an area where you’re feeling anxiety. Maybe you’re behind on your revenue goals, or you had a donor come back to you and say they need to push their gift to 2024. How does your body feel right now? What sensations are you feeling? What belief or mindset is driving your experience?
Now, take a moment to say the following to yourself: I am a gift. I have the privilege and incredible opportunity to connect my donor’s heart and passion to the good work our organization is doing.
Once you’ve said that to yourself (maybe more than once!), think about that tough situation again. How has your energy shifted? How is your body responding differently when you’re kind to yourself?
Giving and giving and giving more is not uncommon, especially for fundraisers like you, but I hope my experience and these tips can help you start to shift into a healthier mindset that sets you up for success.